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Concerns still high around coal mining in Alberta

Posted on April 1, 2021 by Vauxhall Advance

Dear Editor:

Jason Kenney’s intent is to go full bore on mining this coal. If this were to be downstream, users will be subject to dire consequences and we should be made aware of this.
Some weeks ago, our minister of Energy (Sonya Savage) announced there would be “no mountain top removal“ in our eastern slopes (coal mining). That was a somewhat relief to most Albertans until Kenney recently proclaimed, if you leave 10 per cent of the mountain top undisturbed, it is really not considered mountain top removal. Can you believe that?

These politicians will continue to twist and distort the truth until we finally cave into their deceptions. We cannot let this happen. Our water is at stake here. More than ever now, we must be vigilant, as to what is happening in the eastern slopes. Enough negative impacts already plague the headwaters of the Oldman River and its tributaries. Surface mining would undoubtedly put the last nail in the coffin regarding water quality and quantity.

These mines are demanding several billion litres of water each year to wash their coal. Where on earth is this water going to come from and what effect will this have on our fishery? The whole process spells desecration of an ecosystem that can never be replaced by reclamation efforts. You cannot rebuild mountain tops.

We know from ongoing experiences selenium and other toxins will inevitably enter our streams. To date, there is no process that can prevent this from happening. We only have to look to the west to see the problem. Not only is there an ongoing problem with Sparwood’s drinking water, but it is also affecting the fisheries in the Elk and Fording Rivers.
Water is our lifeline. The entire southern part of Alberta is nourished by the Oldman Man watershed. We must speak up before the government sneaks in and calls a policy that attacks our “Natural Heritage” (eastern slopes).

Consultations begin at the end of March. We must be there front-and- centre to decide on the fate of our eastern slopes. Only as a collective group of downstream users can we persuade the government to re-evaluate their determined mandate to surface mine the headwaters of the Oldman River.

We need a new vision for the entire eastern slopes.

Garry Hackler,
Cowley, AB

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