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Albertans will be able to say no to coal during consultations, energy minister says

Last Updated Mar 16, 2021 at 2:30 pm MDT

Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta speaks during an event to mark the start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, in Acheson, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta’s energy minister says people in the province will be able to say “no” to coal during upcoming consultations on coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

Critics have wondered if the consultations will give Albertans the option of telling the government they don’t want to see any mines on those lands, which include the headwaters for much of the province’s drinking water.

But Sonya Savage says the process will go further than just asking people where they would accept such development.

Savage told a legislature committee this morning that the consultations will ask people if they want surface coal mining at all in the Rockies and says the government hasn’t prejudged the outcome.

She also says the province will open government-to-government talks with Indigenous communities in southwest Alberta.

The consultations are to start on March 29.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press