Alberta backs off to get unvaccinated staff back to work

EDMONTON – Alberta’s Energy Minister says she has received two reports that will determine the future of coal mining in the Rocky Mountain foothills and eastern slopes of the province.

Sonya Savage released a statement saying the Independent Coal Policy Committee has submitted both a Commitment Report and a Final Report, which makes recommendations to the government.

She says the United Conservative government will take the time necessary to consider the findings and recommendations of the reports before releasing them to the public.

The problem exploded in the spring of 2020 when the government announced it would remove the rules that had protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies from surface coal mines since 1976.

At least six companies have taken over large swathes of land, much of which had not been touched before, and which is home to all of the province’s springs.

The public response was swift and angry, uniting urban nature lovers, rural ranchers and country music stars, and Savage was forced to restore protections and stop selling exploration leases.

She then formed the panel to hear from Albertans. This panel received over 1,000 email documents and 170 detailed written submissions, as well as related material from 67 meetings across the province.

Both reports were due to be delivered to the government on Dec.31, but Savage said on Wednesday she had already received them.

“I thank the committee for their diligence and hard work with Albertans and in developing their recommendations,” she said in a statement. “I would also like to thank all Albertans, Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations who participated in the process and provided their invaluable contributions.”

Savage had previously promised that the reports would be released in the New Year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 29, 2021

The Canadian Press

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