Industry, provincial lobbying weaken proposed federal coal effluent rules: critics – by Bob Weber (CTV News Edmonton – February 13, 2022)

CANADIAN PRESS – EDMONTON – The federal government has bowed to provincial and industry lobbying in weakening proposed standards for coal mining effluent, critics say.

The draft regulations, released earlier this year, would double the amount of toxins – such as selenium – the mines are allowed to release and wouldn’t apply to any mine that starts producing before 2027. Nor do they require companies to monitor overall environmental effects.

“Environment Canada got pushback,” said Bill Donahue, an environmental scientific consultant and former head of monitoring for the Alberta government. “It dramatically reduced the proposed standards in terms of their stringency.”

Environment Canada began reviewing its rules for coal mine effluent in 2017 and released a previous set of proposals in 2020. The current proposals are weaker in several respects. They allow effluent to contain up to 20 micrograms of selenium per litre in any one sample and a monthly average of 10 micrograms.

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