Edmonton Sun Reported that coal mining in North Saskatchewan River watershed poses a risk to water quality, aquatic life in Edmonton. A risk assessment of upstream coal mining in the river watershed, conducted by Epcor and presented to council’s utility committee, found the risk to aquatic life would be medium-low and impact to drinking water would be low as a result of minerals entering into the headwaters during surface mining. But in the case of a rare event, such as a dam failure, there would be an extreme impact in the downstream water qualityThis type of event is of grave concern if coal mining would be permitted, Ward Councillor Mr Aaron Paquette said, as the river is Edmonton’s sole source of drinking water. To address the risks associated with coal mining, utility committee members asked Mayor Mr Don Iveson to write a letter to the province on behalf of council in an effort to protect the river. Mr Paquette said “There are vast numbers of our public who are deeply concerned about maintaining literally this river of life that runs through our province and beautiful city. This is a responsibility that I don’t think any of us take lightly, and we understand and are concerned along with our public.”Currently, five per cent of the area feeding the river upstream of Edmonton, covering 1,500 square kilometres, have coal leases in place but any work has been suspended during the provincial government’s review of the 1976 coal policy. The policy was rescinded last year but reinstated in February following a slew of concerns.A committee formed by the province is working to develop a modern policy to determine the future of coal mining, with that report due in November. Before the pause on mining projects in parts of the southern Rocky Mountains and foothills was put into effect in April, there were six permits in place allowing coal exploration and drilling. The city met with the committee in July to discuss its concerns and will also be submitting the risk assessment findings.