Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) has heard concerns from producers regarding open-pit coal extraction in the eastern slopes of Alberta and their potential impacts on water quantity and quality, air quality and biodiversity. As an organization, we are frustrated with the limited public engagement that took place prior to the Government of Alberta rescinding the 1976 A Coal Development Policy for Alberta on June 1, 2020.
The ABP Board of Directors has passed a resolution brought forward by producers that supports lobbying for the reinstatement of the coal policy until proper public consultation is complete. While we recognize the importance of modernizing outdated government policies, we encourage the practise of public consultation when creating policies related to land use. ABP is not opposed to environmentally responsible resource extraction. We hope the decision by Minister of Energy Sonya Savage to pause future coal leases provides the necessary motivation for further consultation on land use decisions in the region.
There are several coal mining projects in various stages of development in the southwest part of the province. Some are preliminary and exploratory, while others are in advanced stages of the federal and provincial regulatory review process – specifically the Grassy Mountain Coal Project. This project was submitted for approval in 2015, prior to the rescinding of the coal policy and is currently under joint federal-provincial government review.
ABP would like to remind producers that when an application for development is submitted to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), Albertans who are directly impacted may file a Statement of Concern to express their concern with the proposed development.