EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government has refused for the second time to move ahead with an Opposition bill that would have placed legally enforceable restrictions on coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. That shuffles the Eastern Slopes Protection Act back to a legislative committee that could rule the bill won’t proceed at all.
On Monday, the Opposition New Democrats retabled the private member’s bill that would have substituted actual legislation for an order from Energy Minister Sonya Savage restricting coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. NDP Leader Rachel Notley, the bill’s sponsor, said a politician’s promise isn’t enough to protect those much-loved landscapes.
“A ministerial order can be changed overnight without any public oversight,” said Notley. UCP MLAs refused to grant the unanimous consent the bill needed to move directly to second reading. It now returns to the all-party Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members’ Bills, which vets private member’s bills that are brought forward.
Earlier this month, the government announced it would extend a pause on coal mine exploration and development across a long stretch of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and eastern slopes.
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