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Alberta Opposition private member's bill would protect mountains from coal mines

Last Updated Apr 7, 2021 at 6:20 pm MDT

A monolith is set up near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta with a message to stop the open coal mining pits planned for the area. (CREDIT: @wildstonestories, Instagram)

EDMONTON — Alberta Opposition Leader Rachel Notley is tabling proposed legislation she says would protect the province’s Rocky Mountains from new open-pit coal mines.

The private member’s bill calls for coal exploration to be blocked across the eastern slopes of the Rockies and for road-building and drilling to end.

It would cancel coal leases issued after the United Conservative government scrapped a policy last May that protected those slopes and would stop the province’s energy regulator from issuing development permits.

READ MORE: Alberta announces five-member coal consultation committee, online survey

The proposed legislation would permanently prohibit open-pit mines in the most environmentally sensitive areas and would prevent mines elsewhere until a land-use plan for the region were developed.

Notley says mines already operating would not be affected and any now before the regulator wouldn’t get the final OK unless they fit the land-use plan.

The NDP leader is challenging United Conservative members on the committee that controls private members bills to heed what she says are the wishes of Albertans.