Comes just weeks after a federal policy statement on thermal coal all but sent Coalspur’s Vista expansion up in smoke
Coalspur Mines Ltd.’s controversial Vista mine expansion project is no longer subject to the federal impact assessment process, a federal judge ruled this week.
The Federal Court ruling quashed a June 2020 designation order from Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson that subjected both Vista’s proposed open-pit expansion and underground test mine to review by the federal impact assessment agency.
It found the minister had failed to consult the Ermineskin Cree Nation, which has an impact benefit agreement with Coalspur, and instead only consulted Indigenous communities who sought the designation order before issuing his decision.
“Not only was there no consultation at all, but I find Ermineskin was inexplicably frozen out of this very one-sided process,” wrote Judge Henry Brown in his decision.
The decision comes just weeks after Wilkinson issued a federal policy statement on thermal coal, saying any new or expanded projects would cause “unacceptable environmental impacts,” at the time all but sending Vista’s expansion up in smoke.