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.
Consultation has concluded