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e-2912 (Natural resources and energy)

E-petition
Initiated by Robert Ketcheson from Blackfalds, Alberta

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Whereas:
  • The proposed Grassy Mountain coal mine will destroy the upstream water quality and quantity of the Crowsnest River and upstream tributaries that flow through the proposed project;
  • The project will remove millions of tons of overburden which will be dumped into adjacent valleys polluting watercourses including the Oldman watershed which is the source of water for hundreds of thousands of Albertans;
  • The project will create impoundment ponds which will leach selenium in high concentrations into the surrounding environment destroying existing agricultural and recreational activities for decades;
  • The project will destroy tourism development and quality of life in-migration; and
  • Recent and ongoing developments of clean energy sources such as hydrogen, will soon replace thermal and metallurgical coal, negating the need for destructive coal mining projects.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to cancel the Grassy Mountain Coal Mine application.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable JONATHAN WILKINSON

The proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project (the Project) is currently undergoing a rigorous environmental assessment by an independent Joint Review Panel (the Panel), which was established with the Alberta Energy Regulator in 2018. The assessment is subject to the requirements of the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and the provincial Responsible Energy Development Act, the Coal Conservation Act, the Water Act, the Public Lands Act, and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. The environmental assessment is ensuring a thorough and transparent review of the Project, based on science and traditional knowledge, meeting the high standards that Canadians have come to expect in a federal environmental assessment.

As part of its review, the Panel is required to consider the potential environmental impacts of the Project, including effects on water quality and quantity, air quality, and human health. The Panel is also considering the socio-economic effects of the Project, as well as the contribution of greenhouse gas emissions that are directly attributable to the Project. The Panel’s Report will present its analysis of these and other effects. It will also provide recommendations for ways to mitigate potential adverse effects related to the Project.

A public hearing for the Project began on October 27, 2020, and concluded on December 2, 2020. The public hearing provided an opportunity for the Panel to hear directly from numerous interested parties and Indigenous groups, which will help inform the environmental assessment. The public hearing provided a very transparent and open opportunity for the Panel to hear directly from numerous interested parties, including those with local and regional interests that could be affected by the Project. These views will help inform the environmental assessment and the decision on whether the Project is allowed to proceed.

On January 15, 2021, the Panel closed the record of the review. The Panel is now preparing to submit its report by June 18, 2021. The report will contain the Panel’s conclusions and recommendations regarding the Project. After taking into consideration the Panel’s report, the Minister must determine whether the Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. If the Project is likely to cause significant adverse effects, a decision regarding whether those effects can be justified in the circumstances will be required by the Governor in Council.

The Government of Canada is committed to a federal assessment process that is robust, based on science and Indigenous knowledge, protects our rich natural environment, respects the rights of Indigenous peoples, and supports our natural resources sector. Any future coal development projects proposed in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains that meet the thresholds described in the Physical Activities Regulations will be subject to the new impact assessment regime under the Impact Assessment Act (the IAA). Coal mining projects not subject to the IAA may still require assessment under provincial legislation.

Any projects allowed to proceed would continue to be subject to all applicable provincial and federal regulations.

 

 

Open for signature
November 16, 2020, at 2:10 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
January 15, 2021, at 2:10 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
February 5, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00493)
Government response tabled
March 22, 2021
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia
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