Recently proposed coal developments in southern Alberta have raised concerns about the associated risk of damage to:
- The local environment, especially water quality.
- Wildlife, especially at-risk species.
- Progress on addressing climate change, especially the additional greenhouse gases that the coal consumers will produce.
Forgotten in the pre-occupation with these risks are the valuable benefits the proposed coal developments offer Albertans at a time when:
- Employment at a time of record-high unemployment.
- Investment at a time of record-low investment.
- Tax revenue at a time of record-high public deficits and debt.
The developers of the coal mines have made commitments to globally-accepted best-practice operating methods. These commitments comply with the strict regulations and guidelines in place in Alberta. Various exaggerated risk assertions have drowned out these commitments. These commitments include:
- State-of-the-art water management to avoid harming water quality and avoid taxing the Old Man River watershed.
- Significant dust mitigation during operation.
- Ongoing wildlife monitoring and protection during operation.
- Extensive site reclamation to restore the mined areas for wildlife and recreation after mining.
Alberta is fortunate to have significant coal reserves to mine for the economic benefit of Albertans and coal consumers.
“Most Albertans agree that economic development and responsible environmental stewardship go hand in hand. I believe that the current suite of policies in place concerning coal development has struck the right balance,” says Whitney Issik, MLA for Calgary-Glenmore.
What views do you have about the proposed coal mines and their plans to support the economy and minimize adverse impacts on the environment? Let us know in the comments below.