Alberta decision to open Rockies to coal mining to face court challenges in new year

Alberta’s decision to rescind a decades-old policy and open the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains to coal mining is to face at least two court challenges in the new year.

Read more: Alberta offers Rocky Mountain coal leases after rescinding protection policy

Landowners and area First Nations have filed applications challenging the legality of the government’s decision to revoke the protections without consultations.

They say the government is required under law to consult before it changes a land-use plan.

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Alberta government to change restrictions on foothills coal mining – May 26, 2020

Documents filed as part of the applications suggest government lawyers will argue that policies are not legislation and can be changed unilaterally.

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Ian Urqhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association says a judge is expected to hear arguments in mid-January about who can intervene in the cases.

Read more: Alberta set to retire coal power by 2023, ahead of 2030 provincial deadline

The United Conservative government has said new steel-making coal mines are an important part of its economic plan.

One proposal is currently before a joint federal-provincial review panel and more plans are expected.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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