Alberta town asks province for stop-work order on coal exploration in mountains

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HIGH RIVER, Alta. — An Alberta town in the Rocky Mountain foothills wants the provincial government to order a stop to coal exploration in the region.

Mayor Craig Snodgrass of High River, about 55 kilometres south of Calgary, says town council has approved a letter that is being sent to Premier Jason Kenney.

The letter says coal exploration is already causing irreparable damage and restricting public access to Crown lands people previously enjoyed.

The town wants all exploration work stopped immediately and no new permits issued until the United Conservative government consults with the public.

It adds it will work with other communities and organizations to find legal options to reinstate the government's previous coal policy, which offered much greater protection for the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

Alberta's energy regulator has already permitted hundreds of drill sites and kilometres of exploration roads.

High River is one of at least six municipalities to express concern about the government's plan to dramatically increase open-pit coal mining in one of Alberta's most sensitive landscapes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2021

The Canadian Press