“It’s the goddamned drinking water,” says an exasperated Corb Lund, still in disbelief over a government decision last year to re-open the Rocky Mountains to coal mining interests, which opponents say could threaten critical water supplies in southern Alberta.
The country music star and sixth-generation Albertan became a key figure last year in the campaign to resist new development in Alberta’s foothills, after the provincial government in June 2020 rescinded a decades-old ban on open-pit mining along the region’s southern slopes.
The policy shift sparked a public outcry that cut across political lines, prompting a media frenzy and forcing Alberta Premier Jason Kenney into an embarrassing climb down. His United Conservative Party reversed the policy in February of this year.
Still, Lund remains unconvinced the government will deliver on its promise for a comprehensive mining policy that would re-establish protections for the region. Sonya Savage, Alberta’s energy minster, is expected to table a final report on the matter following public consultations, possibly in coming weeks.