Calgary digs into coal conversation with concerns around climate, water

The area in the bottom left of this Alberta government map, shows coal leases along Alberta's Eastern Slopes. ALBERTA GOVERNMENT COAL AND MINERAL REPORT - 2018

Topline information:

The City of Calgary agreed to have experts present so they can put together recommendations on a response to the Government of Alberta’s rescinding of a 1976 coal-mining policy.

What you need to know:

  • Alberta rescinded a policy last year that restricted land zoning for open pit coal mining and exploration in environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Recently the province withdrew approval for 11 coal mining leases. These make up a fraction of the proposed lease approvals.
  • A presentation could be made as early as next week, with City of Calgary response coming later this spring.
  • Couns. Magliocca, Chu and Farkas voted against the motion. (11-3)

Why this might be important to you:

  • Councillors debated that it falls in line with the city’s overarching climate resilience goals.
  • Due to the nature of open pit mining, others suggested that it protects the Southern Alberta watershed – of which the City of Calgary has been asked to steward.
  • Coun. Davison added that it might also reflect where the city needs to take the future economy.
  • The areas along the Eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains are a popular and growing recreation area.


  • To me, when we have taken such a strong stand around climate change, and we want to continue to invest in the area of climate change, how do we feel about new open pit coal mining leases being granted, to export coal by foreign investors into Third World countries and others that perhaps don’t care as much about climate change as we do.” – Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart, who introduced the motion.
  • I think it’s important for Calgarians to understand that when we raise these issues, it’s not just to be troublesome. It’s because we’ve actually been given a responsibility and accountability for safe water and not being consulted, not having the information we need to be good water stewards is incredibly troubling.” – Coun. Jyoti Gondek on the stewardship of the Southern Alberta water supply.

Further reading: 

Alberta coal policy guidelines

Alberta coal policy rescission

The Narwhal: The Alberta government just cancelled 11 controversial coal leases but open pit mining could still happen. Here’s why.

CPAWS – Coal campaign

About Darren Krause 1185 Articles
Journalist, husband, father, golfer, writer, painter, video gamer, gardener, amateur botanist, dreamer, realist... never in that order.

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