Stewardship of Eastern Slopes Needed
The Alberta Party calls for a delay in the process of approval for new open pit coal mines on the Eastern Slopes.
The Eastern Slopes are a treasure of our province. They deserve strong stewardship which protects their heritage and their future. By opening them up to large scale mining without proper consultation, the UCP government is putting them at extreme risk.
The Eastern Slopes and associated watershed provides clean drinking water for millions of Canadians. It is the most important element for a sustainable and prosperous agricultural industry in Southern Alberta. An important and growing tourism industry, one the UCP Government has pledged to grow, will also be adversely affected by open pit coal mining.
The Milk and Oldman rivers have already seen flow issues in 2020. Any threat to this watershed’s health would be devastating to the ranchers and farmers who have lived and worked in the area for generations. Future industries, like greenhouse vegetable production, would be lost if the water flow is adversely affected by new mining or potential chemical runoff from tailings.
The current government is speeding through a process that could have major detrimental effects on existing and future industries. It will also limit Albertans’ recreational access to one of the most beautiful parts of our country. All for a short-term investment bump which will have limited economic impact.
Acting Leader Jacquie Fenske:
"Alberta is cattle country and an agricultural powerhouse. Alberta is the clean, clear water of our beautiful rivers. It is the scenic vistas of our Rocky Mountains. We attract millions to our province because of this image, and help feed the world. This coal policy puts all this at risk.
Our coal development policy remained for decades, under numerous conservative premiers, because it protected the shared heritage of all Albertans. It conserved an integral element of our agriculture and tourism industries. To make changes now, with next to no consultation with the people it will affect most, is neither conservative nor democratic. This process must slow down so that all concerns are heard and accounted for. The Eastern Slopes must be given strong stewardship, not sold off without Albertans even having a say."
The coal policy put in place by the conservative Lougheed government went unchanged because it protected the natural heritage of all Albertans and ensured sustainable and strong agriculture and tourism industries. To change it now and allow development without consultation is a travesty. The process must slow down and take account of the noise that numerous ranchers and other stakeholders have been forced to make, after being ignored by their government.