First Nations launch legal challenge to coal mining on Alberta’s Eastern Slopes – by Olivia Condon (Calgary Herald – February 4, 2021)

Siksika First Nation is launching a legal challenge against the province’s decision to rescind its coal policy, effectively allowing open-pit coal mining in the Rockies.

The coal policy, launched in 1976, aimed to protect parts of the Rocky Mountains from open-pit mining and designated the area, from Jasper to Waterton National Parks, into four categories.

Categories 1 and 2 restricted open pit mining, whereas categories 3 and 4 allowed it.

The province’s “hasty” decision to allow mining in Category 2 areas, particularly in the Crowsnest Pass region, “will be an environmental disaster that cannot be undone,” Siksika leadership — who are working with the Kainai First Nation on the challenge — said in a statement.

“Several coal mine projects are being proposed in very sensitive and mostly undisturbed areas of the Crowsnest Pass Region that have the potential to impact Grizzlies, Big Horn Sheep, Bull Trout, the largest herd of Elk in Alberta as well as the headwaters of the Oldman and Livingstone Rivers, which are source water to Kainai and Piikani reserve lands,” the statement reads.

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