Alberta First Nations Oppose Coal Expansion in Rocky Mountains
The Canadian Press reported that two of Alberta’s largest First Nations have written letters to coal companies saying they will oppose any new mine
The Canadian Press reported that two of Alberta’s largest First Nations have written letters to coal companies saying they will oppose any new mine proposals in the Rocky Mountains since the provincial government has consistently ignored their concerns. The Siksika and Kainai, southwest of Calgary, say new mines would threaten one of the few places that can still support traditional Blackfoot culture. The two First Nations account for about 70 per cent of the Treaty 7 population. Siksika wrote to Montem Resources, Atrum Coal and Cabin Ridge Coal “After careful review of all proposed metallurgical coal projects, and in response to the government of Alberta’s failure to address the Siksika Nation’s concerns. Siksika has formally adopted a position opposing any new applications.”
The Kainai have sent similar letters.
The letters do not apply to a proposal, currently before regulatory hearings, from Benga Mines.
Last spring, the United Conservative government revoked a policy without public input that had protected the summits and eastern slopes of the Rockies from surface coal mines since 1976. That led to the sale of coal exploration leases on thousands of hectares of land, some of which is home to endangered species and the water source for much of southern Alberta. The government recently reinstated the policy, but did not dissolve the leases it sold in the interim.