June 14th, 2024

Road open to further coal mining after bill blocked, says Notley


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on March 23, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

United Conservative Party MLAs reversed their original vote on Bill 214 to protect Alberta’s Eastern Slopes from coal mining, and have now killed the bill.
NDP leader Rachel Notley spoke at the Standing Committee on private bills and private member’s public bills Tuesday and recalled the events from April 13, 2021, when the committee voted unanimously that the bill should proceed to the legislative assembly for second reading and the opportunity for debate within the whole assembly.
“A cynic might conclude that members supported the bill last year as a way to send it back into the legislature understanding that it would not likely ever make its way to the top of the list and be debated,” said Notley.
Notley said it was her expectation that the committee would find now as it did last year that this bill is reasonable, that it will protect the eastern slopes and the sensitive head waters from coal exploration and coal mining.
But UCP MLAs Miranda Rosin, Jeremy Nixon, Peter Singh, Mickey Amery, Pat Rehn and Richard Gotfried reversed their vote to move the bill to second reading.
Notley says the UCP’s vote means the government can once again throw the Eastern Slopes open to coal mining with a stroke of the minister’s pen without any public consultation or notice.
“Over the last two years and still today an unprecedented number of Indigenous leaders, municipal leaders, ranchers, country music stars and a vast majority of Albertans who have been consulted or asked about this, have agreed ‘do not mine our Eastern Slopes’,” said Notley.
She said Albertans said this when the UCP first rescinded the 1976 Coal Policy and have been consistent on that matter since.
Energy Minister Sonya Savage has blocked coal development on those landscapes with a ministerial order she has promised not to withdraw.
That move came earlier this month, in response to a panel report that found widespread and adamant opposition to open-pit coal mining on landscapes already heavily used for energy, agriculture, forestry and recreation. Those areas are also the source of much of the province’s drinking water.
Savage’s order prevents any further exploration activity, selling of exploration leases or issuing of exploration permits. It is not, however, legislation and can be revoked without public consultation or review by the legislature.
She has said the order will remain in place until environmental protections can be written in to land use plans for the affected areas.
Notley has said the order can be withdrawn any time at the minister’s discretion. She said the fact the UCP refuse to legislate protection for the Rockies suggests they eventually plan to open it up.
“This order can be rescinded without notice to the public in any way, shape or form without consultation or discussion in any way, shape or form and it also allows several new mining projects to proceed and advance,” said Notley.
Notley said Savage and the government have proven that they will work secretly, and that they will not consult their own UCP caucus.
“This government could begin mining again with the stroke of a pen, or even rescind the order without notice or consultation,” she said. “(Premier) Jason Kenney is relying on Albertans to blindly trust him with zero transparency or oversight.”
On the Friday of the May long weekend in 2020, the UCP rescinded the 1976 Lougheed Coal Policy, and immediately issued a significant number of leases and permits to foreign coal mining companies, in some of the most sensitive lands anywhere on Earth, including protections against coal mining in the Eastern Slopes.
“It’s clear today that the UCP is still reserving the right to tear apart our beautiful Alberta mountains and poison our water supply with coal mining. That’s what killing this bill achieved,” said Notley.
– with files from The Canadian Press

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buckwheat

But I need my battery. Dirty coal, no way, NIMBY

learned in school, when the truth was still being taught, and the “Greta’s” were not in charge that energy can neither be created nor destroyed – only converted from one form of energy to another. A battery converts chemical energy into electrical energy.
A typical EV battery weighs one thousand pounds, about the size of a travel trunk. It contains twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.
 
To manufacture each EV auto battery, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for one battery.”

“Going Green” may sound like the Utopian ideal but when you look at the hidden and embedded costs realistically with an open mind, you can see that Going Green is more destructive to the Earth’s environment than meets the eye, for sure