Coal Policy Committee

Consultation has concluded

The Coal Policy Committee was established in March 2021 to develop and lead a widespread and comprehensive public engagement to inform Alberta’s long-term approach to coal. The committee's engagement and final reports have been submitted to the Minister of Energy.

This webpage and its contents will be archived and the email address will be decommissioned on March 31, 2022. Further updates will be available on

Technical submissions

The deadline to provide technical submissions was September 19, 2021. Thank you to those who participated.

The Coal Policy Committee was established in March 2021 to develop and lead a widespread and comprehensive public engagement to inform Alberta’s long-term approach to coal. The committee's engagement and final reports have been submitted to the Minister of Energy.

This webpage and its contents will be archived and the email address will be decommissioned on March 31, 2022. Further updates will be available on

Technical submissions

The deadline to provide technical submissions was September 19, 2021. Thank you to those who participated.

Consultation has concluded
  • Statement from the chair

    Coal Policy Committee chair Ron Wallace issued the following statement on the release of the reports and recommendations and the end of the committee’s work:

    The Coal Policy Committee is pleased that the government of Alberta has accepted its principal recommendations including the extension of the Ministerial Order.

    To review, the independent committee, over a period of nine months, exhaustively listened to Albertans, including Indigenous communities, from across the province. Sixty-seven engagement sessions with over 70 different groups that included unions and industry associations, municipalities and interest groups were supplemented by 176 detailed written submissions and 17 engagements sessions held in two exhaustive site tours across the Province. Engagement sessions with Indigenous representatives from southern, central and northern Alberta were held, in addition to sessions with band councils, the Metis Settlements Association and Indigenous advocacy groups. The committee also benefitted from advice received from nearly 25,000 Albertans who responded to the government’s survey on the issue of coal.

    The committee experienced an outpouring of interest from Albertans, some in support of coal and many others not so inclined, who recognized the opportunity to speak directly and openly to government decision-makers through the committee about an issue of vital interest. It was a dialogue not only about coal and resource management but about the future direction of the province and the heritage bestowed by policies of this government on future generations of Albertans.

    To be clear, the committee was not a regulator assessing any specific project proposals. The public opinion received during the engagement process formed the basis of our recommendations to the Minister of Energy.

    The committee began its work with careful reconsiderations of the fundamental principles set out in the 1976 Coal Policy. Our engagement process confirmed the desire of Albertans to be meaningfully consulted about matters associated with resource development, especially with values associated with the preservation of the resources of the Eastern Slopes Region, including its waters.

    The central recommendation of the Committee was for Alberta to follow existing laws and statutes, particularly the Alberta Land Use Stewardship Act (ALSA). The Act was designed to align and guide land use planning for the entire Eastern Slopes region and, accordingly, we recommended that coal categories should be replaced by regional or sub-regional plans as defined by ALSA. There are also other tools, such as the Public Lands Act, which form the foundation of commitments made by the Alberta government for establishment of land-use plans that ensure sustainable maintenance of values and benefits for all Albertans. These are tools readily available to the Alberta Government, which include Indigenous and public consultations, to enable long-term resource management.

  • Update from the committee - December

    The Coal Policy Committee is pleased to confirm both the engagement and final reports, with recommendations, have been submitted to the Minister of Energy.

    The committee’s work is now complete. This webpage and its contents will eventually be archived and the email address will be decommissioned. Updates on the release of the report and Alberta’s long-term approach to coal will be available on

    Thank you again to all who participated in this rigorous process. The committee understands that coal is an important issue in Alberta. It was a privilege to conduct a widespread engagement to capture your insights, perspectives and advice.

  • Update from the committee - November

    Work continues on the engagement and final reports. The Coal Policy Committee is confident that we will be able to deliver robust and complete reports by the Dec. 31 deadline.

    We want to iterate how grateful we are for the significant amount of input we received from engaged Albertans. Your thoughts and advice have featured heavily in our discussions. We look forward to finalizing and submitting the reports, including our recommendations, soon.

  • Update from the committee - Final report deadline extended

    The Coal Policy Committee has always been committed to being open and transparent about our process.

    With this in mind, we want to share with you that the committee requested that the deadline for the engagement and final reports be extended. The Minister of Energy has granted an extension until Dec. 31, 2021.

    The committee felt this was necessary due to the significant volume of thoughtful and insightful submissions we received. We are committed to thoroughly considering the perspectives and advice of Albertans – and want to ensure we dedicate the time and attention needed to do so.

    We are grateful for the interest in the committee’s reports, and we will work diligently to submit both reports by the new deadline.

  • Update from the committee - October

    Compared to the heavy meeting schedule of the previous months, October has looked very different for the Coal Policy Committee – though no less busy.

    We continue to analyze the input from Albertans as we work towards submitting both the engagement report and the final report, which will contain the committee’s recommendations for a modern approach to coal development in Alberta.

    We want to reiterate our thanks for all of the thoughtful and insightful submissions. We assure Albertans that the committee is thoroughly considering their advice and perspectives.

  • Update from the committee - September

    September marked the Coal Policy Committee’s most significant milestone to date as we wrapped the final phase of the formal engagement process. Our last meeting took place on September 16 and the deadline for public submissions closed on September 19.

    The committee was also pleased to undertake Indigenous engagement, building on Alberta Energy’s nation-to-nation engagement with Indigenous communities in Alberta. This included virtual engagement sessions and roundtables. In total, the committee engaged with more than 35 Indigenous communities and groups. These groups were invited to follow-up their verbal engagement sessions with more formal, written presentations to better inform and guide the committee’s considerations.

    Additionally, committee member Natalie Charlton accepted an invitation to visit the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation on behalf of the committee to learn more about the effects of the local coal mine on their communities and their local environment.

    As we compile and analyze all the advice and perspectives received from Albertans, the number and quality of submissions received is most gratifying, but also somewhat overwhelming. The response from Albertans has been exceptional. In addition to meetings and engagement sessions, we have received more than 1,000 email submissions in total and 124 technical submissions – 88 of which met the criteria for posting. The committee is committed to carefully assessing the advice received from Albertans from our extended engagement process.

    To ensure we are able to devote the necessary attention to the input received, the committee was granted permission from the Minister of Energy to extend the deadline of the engagement report to match the deadline of our final report on November 15. The original deadline for the engagement report was October 15.

    Again, the volume and quality of responses from Albertans has been extraordinary. The committee is honoured to have been entrusted with this process and we are excited to be able to present our recommendations to the Minister of Energy later this fall.

  • Central Alberta tour

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    Following our tour of southern Alberta communities, the Coal Policy Committee wanted to visit other parts of the province to ensure we hear from as many Albertans as possible. With this in mind, we recently completed a tour in central Alberta, during which we met with various municipal and community representatives.

    This included meetings in Rocky Mountain House, Edson, Hinton and the Nordegg area with:

    • Reeve Cammie Baird and Council colleagues from Clearwater County
    • Mayor Tammy Burke and Council colleagues from Town of Rocky Mountain House
    • Deputy Mayor Wade Williams and Council colleagues from Yellowhead County
    • representatives of United Mine Workers of America Local 1656 and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 955
    • Hinton Mayor Marcel Michaels and a Council colleague
    • representatives from the Hinton & District Chamber of Commerce
    • representatives from the Athabasca Watershed Bioregional Society
    • Misty Valley community member Jerzy Maslanka
    • representatives from the West Country Sustainability Coalition

    The topics discussed with these groups were wide-ranging. Concerns were raised about the environmental outcomes of coal mining, including GHG emissions and water pollutants, and the need for more accountability of sustainable practices. We also heard concerns about the effect of coal mining on tourism and recreation. Communities expressed concerns about the transportation of coal through communities, while previous mining communities also shared their experiences with dust and traffic. Conversely, we also heard from those worried over the adverse effects on towns and regions when mines are closed prematurely.

    Other comments included addressed the developments in technology – such as carbon capture – that can improve the environmental outcomes of coal mining, though appropriate regulation and enforcement. We heard about the increase in wildlife on reclaimed properties. However, we also heard that reclaimed footprints may act as “wildlife population sinks” – which could lead to the habitat being abandoned. It was recommended that the cumulative effects on ecosystems, inclusive of all industries, needs to be taken into account.

    The committee also heard about the competing interests between the shift in global energy demand for lower-emission sources with an overall increasing demand for energy. We were reminded that Alberta does not operate in isolation. We heard that Alberta’s high quality, low-sulfur coal could provide a global benefit over other coal that will otherwise be used by foreign jurisdictions, but that Alberta must achieve environmental outcomes independent of international economics and environmental interests.

    The coal categories were another topic of discussion. We heard suggestions to re-think the categories to better align with the province today, in contrast to when the 1976 Coal Policy was implemented. For example, the location of Category 2 leases beside key recreational areas was of significant concern. A dedicated policy for the Eastern Slopes was also suggested.

    Lastly, communities voiced their support for local decisions and interests and concerns about federal interventions on energy decisions.

    In addition to the meetings, the committee was able to tour the Coalspur Vista Mine that is actively mining thermal coal. We also visited the Luscar and Cardinal River metallurgical coal mine sites owned by Teck Resources; these sites are under various states of reclamation. We learned about the sites being reclaimed, the successes to date, and how they respond to changing requirements over time. The Committee appreciated seeing a fully reclaimed site at the Luscar mine.

    The tour of central Alberta was very informative and we thank everyone for their time and input. The experience was valuable as we consolidate feedback from the southern tour and all the submissions we have received to date.

    Site visit to Teck Resources' reclaimed Luscar mine site.

    Meeting with council members from the Town of Rocky Mountain House and Clearwater County.

  • Update from the committee - August

    August marks five months since the Coal Policy Committee began engaging Albertans on a modern coal policy. We continue hear from Albertans about the management of coal resources in Alberta.

    This past month, we held more virtual meetings with interested parties. We also undertook a tour of several communities in central Alberta. That tour provided an opportunity to meet with several groups in the region and to visit and view active and reclaimed mines in the area. A more detailed post about the tour will be published soon.

    The committee was pleased to receive 101 more written submissions through our mailbox in August, bringing the total to 605 submissions since March. We encourage Albertans to submit a technical submission or send us your thoughts on managing Alberta’s coal resources as the deadline for submissions is fast approaching. The deadline for either email or technical submissions is September 19.

    As August draws to a close, we are wrapping up Phase 2 of our engagement process. Looking ahead to September, we will also be completing our Indigenous engagement process, which supplements the Alberta government’s nation-to-nation engagement with Indigenous communities in Alberta. We will also be compiling the advice and perspectives received from Albertans to inform our recommendations in our final report.

    Thank you again to all who have submitted their comments to the committee. We look forward to sharing more on our progress next month.

  • Southern Alberta tour - Part 2

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    During the committee’s tour of communities in southern Alberta, it was a privilege to be able to hold in person meetings after the lifting of certain restrictions due to COVID. In this second installment, we will provide a brief overview of what the committee learned during various site visits.

    We were pleased to be able to see several sites firsthand and to better understand the issues associated with past and proposed future coal developments in Alberta.

    Three coal development companies – Atrum Coal, Cabin Ridge Coal and Montem Resources – welcomed the committee to their proposed project sites. During these visits, the committee members witnessed examples of how the companies work to minimize certain impacts associated with mining, such as removal, reclamation and recontouring of landscapes. The companies explained proposals to re-enter existing sites and then progressively reclaim affected areas. The site visits offered the committee members the opportunity to speak with employees and hear their perspectives about economic and employment opportunities as well.

    The committee was also invited to the Rocking-P Ranch, where they were joined by the owners of the Plateau Cattle Company. The ranchers shared their history on the land, the importance of cattle and proper range management, and discussed the economic benefit of agriculture as a whole. They shared their perspectives that ranching and coal development cannot coexist, and discussed the impact of uncertainty surrounding coal development that is affecting their lives and their businesses.

    Lastly, the committee met with local Alberta Environment and Parks staff who explained and demonstrated the different coal land categories in the region and the land-use plans currently in place for the landscape.

    We are grateful to our hosts for taking the time to show us the area and share their expertise, thoughts and concerns.

    Meeting with representatives from Montem Resources during the site visitSite visit to Cabin RidgeMeeting with Alberta Environment and Parks Staff

    Site visit to Tent Mountain

  • Southern Alberta tour - Part 1

    Since March, the Coal Policy Committee has been meeting virtually with Albertans from across the province. With many COVID restrictions lifted, we were excited to hold our first in-person meetings during our recent tour of communities in southern Alberta.

    The tour included both site visits and meetings. In the first installment of this two-part series we are pleased to share more about the discussions we had with various groups.

    While we discussed many topics associated with coal development, a common theme the committee heard throughout the various meetings was how privileged many Albertans were to be living in a landscape bordered to the west by the eastern slopes and mountains. There was a strong opinion expressed that Albertans – whether or not they support coal mining – do not wish to see the area, particularly their waters and the headwater regions, adversely affected by coal development.

    The committee tours included meetings with:

    • Reeve Brian Hammond and Councillors from the M.D. of Pincher Creek
    • Representatives of the Livingstone Landowners Group and the Pekisko Group
    • Mayor Blair Painter and Council of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
    • Piikani Chief Stanley Grier and three of his Council colleagues

    In these meetings, many concerns were shared with the committee. These concerns were related to:

    • The impact of selenium and other contaminants on human health and the environment
    • The importance of protecting our headwaters
    • The effect of changing weather and land use patterns on water allocations
    • The economic booms and busts related to resource development including coal mining
    • Possible impacts on recreational resources and tourism
    • Concern for economic development and for jobs in southern Alberta
    • The possible effects on agricultural producers and municipalities

    Several participants told us about how these concerns could have negative impacts on their livelihoods and lifestyle. They also spoke about how many of these effects – on their environment or their communities – could be irreversible. These participants did not believe that any potential economic benefit would offset these risks.

    We also heard from those who are concerned about the critical need for economic opportunities within their community. They believe mining the high-quality metallurgical coal found in Alberta would result in jobs, and that the issues with coal development, such as selenium contamination, could be resolved.

    Other discussions requested that government provide clarity on mining terms and examine possible better alignment between the Alberta Energy Regulator, environmental protection and future coal policies.

    While formal Indigenous engagement is presently under way through a parallel process led by the Alberta government, we were pleased to be invited to meet with Piikani First Nation Chief Grier and his council colleagues. Chief Grier and the council members shared their experiences with the committee, and talked about the Piikani people and their connection to the area, as well as some of the social and economic challenges they face. The Chief and council also spoke about the lack of economic activity in the region and the reserve’s need for industry, economy and infrastructure, in addition to their concerns over the environmental effects of coal mining.

    From the start of the engagement process, we’ve understood the issues around coal development to be varied and complex. We appreciated the opportunity to meet with people who live in an area that would be affected by coal development. We are grateful for your input.Meeting with Mayor Blair Painter and Council of the Municipality of Crowsnest PassMeeting with representatives of the Livingstone Landowners Group and the Pekisko GroupMeeting with Reeve Brian Hammond and Councillors from the M.D. of Pincher Creek

    Stay tuned for Part 2, which will provide more details about the site visits that took place during the tour.