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Mayday, Mayday for the Oldman /Livingstone, Coal Policy Rescission

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I'm hoping our community is tuning in to the UCP's calamitous decision to rescind the 1976 Coal Policy.  CBC has done a good job reporting on it:     https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/bringing-coal-back  .

You will note that this change in policy enables open pit metallurgical coal mining on the "Category 2" lands along the Rockies from the Pass to north of Jasper. The category 2 lands were previously closed to mining under the 1976 policy.

It takes awhile to absorb the enormity of this catastrophic change but let me try to illuminate with it one example.   Atrum Coal, an Australian company, is currently exploring a site for a large,open pit,"mountain top removal" type coal mine about 2k north of the Upper Oldman , about 5k NW of the Oldman/Livingstone confluence.  Here is the investor presentation regarding the project;   https://www.atrumcoal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ATU_Investor-Presentation.pdf

If you managed to read through the presentation without fainting you will see that the plan is not only to build the mine, but also a handling facility close to the river, which will feed a  36 km covered conveyor belt to take the coal down to the Pass, presumably though the Dutch Creek/Hidden Creek areas.

Sorry for the drama but please be aware that right now, today, they are drilling at the site to delineate the coal reserves. 

A development would require an AER/Environmental approval process but i think it is fair to say that approval is  likely given the change of government policy.  There may be legal avenues to dispute the rescission and there are groups actively considering that.  However, ultimately a government has the power to implement policy.  This is a political issue.

Okay, i'm dizzy again, I'll stop.

 

 

 

 

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I think this is our own Pebble Mine if we as a group of out door enthusiasts do not say anything this will decimate our outdoor activity's in that area. Send letters to who every you can find in this government to oppose this travesty.

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   We have an abbreviation for this in the airforce: FUBAR. Stands for £¥€§ed Up Beyond All Recognition. 
   All the profits to an Australian conglomerate from Albertan slave labour. I think I am going to throw up...

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Well if this mine takes as long to move along as the Grassy Mtn one just north of Blairmore there will be plenty of time for it to get killed. The Grassy Mtn one is only just now going to public consultation. By the time that the Atrum one gets further along Kenney will be drummed out of office and the NDP will kill the project. Jason Nixon is a simplistic stooge of Kenney's and we could write a million letters to him and get not one inch closer to having this shutdown. So pick your spot.

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Trailhead,

Your observation may have been true once but the rules changed shorting timelines and information gathering required for decisions. 
 

Don

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I'll play devil's advocate here...

Does the world not need steel? Does S. Alberta not need jobs? Mining industry is not like 1940 oil production with no regulation, it is very heavily regulated and environmental monitoirng done every single day. Is it good for the fishery? Probably not. There are how many open pit mines just across the divide from there, with what sorts of impacts on the fisheries and environment? People tend to only see the negatives....

Can't be NIMBYS.....

There is one on the docket for this neck of the woods too. They had 3 rigs drilling for an entire winter, about 6-7 years ago, and, guess what? No mine.

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2 hours ago, northfork said:

 There are how many open pit mines just across the divide from there, with what sorts of impacts on the fisheries and environment? People tend to only see the negatives....

You mean, like 93% of westslope getting wiped out in the upper fording? https://thenarwhal.ca/teck-resources-elk-valley-mines-bc-fish/

Absolutely we can be NIMBYs when it comes to the eastern slopes and Kenney doing this with zero consultation.  

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The rescission of the coal policy means that Category 2 lands are now available for coal leasing, and only that - leasing. 

There are a great number of coal leases in this province that have been in effect for decades, that have seen absolutely no development activity on them at all.  Coal rights leasing is different in AB from O&G in that regard, in that in O&G, you have to undertake certain activities (e.g., drilling) to continue to hold licenses/leases.  With coal, as long as you pay your annual rental fees, you can sit on a coal lease indefinitely.

Should this company wish to actually advance this development, they still have to go through the Alberta Environment approval process, and, for a mine of this size, now the new Federal Impact Assessment Act (yes, the infamous "Bill C-69" that has ruffled so many Alberta feathers on other fronts of late).  Thus, likely a joint review panel process.  The first step in this review process is stakeholder consultation to define the terms of reference for the impact assessment.

To my mind, the angling/outdoors community is much more likely to have a meaningful say/effect by providing input into that review process, when/if the time comes, rather than try to get the current government to do anything with respect to this coal policy rescission.

This looks like an Australian penny stock mining company, whose value trades on news with respect to their "projects" - that sword cuts both ways, i.e., negative news (e.g., tough going on environmental approvals, due to credible stakeholder opposition) has a way of causing these sorts of things to go away...

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The Grassy Mountain project started in 1909 and the public consultation will be held this October. Let me see 9 carry the one that's 111 years to get to this point. If Atrum takes as long that means the project will be this point;

In the year 2131,

will there even be a sun,

will the UCP run,

as a political par-ar-ar-tee

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If we should have learned anything from the UCP vandals, it's that nothing--not fairness, not the law, not basic decency--will get in the way of them rewarding their friends and donors. We simply can't afford to sit back and wait for regulatory processes to kill this abomination. If we do, we'll have to tell our grandchildren about how we failed them.

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6 minutes ago, mkonnert said:

If we should have learned anything from the UCP vandals, it's that nothing--not fairness, not the law, not basic decency--will get in the way of them rewarding their friends and donors. We simply can't afford to sit back and wait for regulatory processes to kill this abomination. If we do, we'll have to tell our grandchildren about how we failed them.

So...apart from participation the regulatory review process, how do you propose "to kill this abomination" otherwise?

 

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On 7/10/2020 at 12:44 PM, Sparkplug said:

 

Should this company wish to actually advance this development, they still have to go through the Alberta Environment approval process,

 

On 7/10/2020 at 6:23 AM, northfork said:

I'll  it is very heavily regulated and environmental monitoirng done every single day.

I think it's pretty clear that AER is one of the more captured regulatory agencies out there..

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The Cutthroats and Bulls in Line Creek and the Fording River BC have been decimated by coal mining.

The concentration of Selenium in the downstream waters is now 25X acceptable levels. There are a number of deleterious effects documented from significant levels of Selenium.

Do we need more industialization, sediment, and Selenium leaching in an area where the threatened Bull trout go to spawn?

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Brent....is there not some legislation around SARA animals that would limit destructive habitat disturbances?

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6 minutes ago, monger said:

Brent....is there not some legislation around SARA animals that would limit destructive habitat disturbances?

only SARA aquatic species, such as WSCT and BLTR. Wildlife doesn't hold much/any sway for SARA unless on Fed Lands or with an emergency habitat order. BLTR will be a real headache for anyone trying to do anything extractive on the eastern slopes or building new roads/culverts as their critical habitat is pretty much everywhere in the headwaters. See here: https://wildlife-species.canada.ca/species-risk-registry/virtual_sara/files/plans/Rs-BullTroutOmblesTetePlateSaskNelson-v00-2020June-Eng.pdf

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On 7/13/2020 at 3:43 PM, trailhead said:

The Grassy Mountain project started in 1909 and the public consultation will be held this October. Let me see 9 carry the one that's 111 years to get to this point. If Atrum takes as long that means the project will be this point;

In the year 2131,

will there even be a sun,

will the UCP run,

as a political par-ar-ar-tee

Grassy Mountain was an underground mine for many years. It had its own town called Lille. Both are gone now. 
Grassy Mtn. history is mirrored by the open pit mine NW of Sparwood which was an underground operation supporting The towns of Michel and Natal. 
History  is important - let’s get it right.
 

Don

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5 hours ago, bcubed said:

 

I think it's pretty clear that AER is one of the more captured regulatory agencies out there..

Alberta Environment, not the AER. 

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2 minutes ago, Sparkplug said:

Alberta Environment, not the AER. 

Coal mining is regulated by AER, not AEP, no?

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Environmental approval of the development, and administration/enforcement of the operating license (if granted), is with Alberta Environment.

This project would require both an Alberta Environment provincial approval (under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act), as well as a federal assessment under the new Impact Assessment Act.

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But AER regulates coal mines under EPEA? What am i missing?

https://www.aer.ca/regulating-development/project-application/application-legislation/environmental-protection-and-enhancement-act.html

"Our EPEA responsibilities are specific to energy resource development. We are responsible for projects and activities including gas plants, in situ oil sands plants, oil sands mines, upgraders, bulk petroleum storage facilities, and coal mines. We also review air, wastewater, groundwater, soils, and decommissioning and reclamation reports associated with these projects and activities."

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2 hours ago, DonAndersen said:

Grassy Mountain was an underground mine for many years. It had its own town called Lille. Both are gone now. 
Grassy Mtn. history is mirrored by the open pit mine NW of Sparwood which was an underground operation supporting The towns of Michel and Natal. 
History  is important - let’s get it right.
 

Don

Actually Lille was operated from only 1901 to 1912 by the West Canadian Colleries producing coking coal, which is why the old coking ovens are still there located north of Frank. The Green Mountain mine operated from 1909 to 1953 and initially was a underground mine but was converted to an open pit mine by Scurry Rainbow, who gave up on the project and eventually were bought by Devon Canada. Who then sold the rights to Benga Mining aka Riversdale Resources. This operation is located north of Blairmore, no where near Lille. I have hiked to both locations as I lived in the Pass for 15 years. Yep get it right!

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2 hours ago, bcubed said:

But AER regulates coal mines under EPEA? What am i missing?

https://www.aer.ca/regulating-development/project-application/application-legislation/environmental-protection-and-enhancement-act.html

"Our EPEA responsibilities are specific to energy resource development. We are responsible for projects and activities including gas plants, in situ oil sands plants, oil sands mines, upgraders, bulk petroleum storage facilities, and coal mines. We also review air, wastewater, groundwater, soils, and decommissioning and reclamation reports associated with these projects and activities."

AER regulates coal mining in respect of the Coal Conservation Act, which is primarily with respect to responsible/efficient coal resource recovery.  An environmental approval under EPEA must still be obtained.  For this mine (and any open pit mine over 45,000 tonnes/year production), it is mandatory that a provincial environmental impact assessment under EPEA be conducted.  The project will also have to be assessed under the federal Impact Assessment Act.  All these regulatory agencies (AB Environment, AER, federal Impact Assessment Agency) coordinate to ensure no overlap.  In the past when both federal and provincial assessments are called for (as would be the case here), a joint review panel has often been struck with one of the agencies leading the review on behalf of the others.  Not sure how it will work now under the new federal IAA, as there haven't really been any projects put forth subject to that yet, but will probably be in line with this historical joint review process.

Bottom line is that a proposal like this will be subject to a full environmental impact assessment with both federal and provincial agencies involved.  An EIA involves, from the getgo, stakeholder consultation and input as to the terms of reference for the EIA/joint review panel.  That would be the ideal time to ensure that fisheries related matters are prominent and baked into the terms of reference for the EIA.

 

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1 hour ago, trailhead said:

Actually Lille was operated from only 1901 to 1912 by the West Canadian Colleries producing coking coal, which is why the old coking ovens are still there located north of Frank. The Green Mountain mine operated from 1909 to 1953 and initially was a underground mine but was converted to an open pit mine by Scurry Rainbow, who gave up on the project and eventually were bought by Devon Canada. Who then sold the rights to Benga Mining aka Riversdale Resources. This operation is located north of Blairmore, no where near Lille. I have hiked to both locations as I lived in the Pass for 15 years. Yep get it right!

So where did the Railroad originate that follows Gold Creek? Or did I imagine it. 
 

Don

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Are there any established “anti-mine organizations”?

Who is everyone writing to? 


Is there any truth to the mine proposal in the ram river watershed?


Someone may have answered it above but it makes me far to depressed and angry to read through the thread. 
 

Never thought I’d say I miss Rachel Notley 

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