Alberta’s Energy Minister Sonya Savage recently announced the province had cancelled 11 coal leases and is pausing future sales in former Category 2 lands.
The news comes after hundreds of thousands of signatures were collected from various online petitions. Although this is good news for environmentalists and concerned citizens, the announcement does not account for 420,000 hectares of unprotected land, which includes an area surrounding the Grassy Mountain coal project.
Katie Morrisson, director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness society (CPAWS) says that the announcement does very little to address the big picture.
“The issue is that those 11 coal leases only make up about 0.2 percent of the leases that are on our eastern slopes of the Canadian rockies. That actually doesn’t address the huge threat that the rest of those areas are still under”.
Bobbi Lambright, representative of the Livingstone Landowners Group shared a similar sentiment. “What they’ve done is a tiny tiny fraction of what we’re all concerned about which is kind of open-season on the eastern slopes”.
The Grassy Mountain Coal Project has concluded its joint federal and provincial review hearings recently, and the results of the review will likely be released in mid June.