CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, two First Nation communities in Alberta Canada applauded the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for slowing down approval of Coalspur's proposed mammoth thermal coal project in the foothills of Alberta. Despite Coalspur's spin to the contrary, the fact that the Regulator demanded a full hearing suggests that all is not well with Coalspur's proposal.
Recently, Whitefish Lake First Nation and Ermineskin Cree Nation, representing several thousand people in northern and central Alberta, announced plans to oppose Coalspur's proposed open pit coal mining operation that would chew through some of Alberta's most unspoiled wilderness in the Eastern Slopes near the Rocky Mountains, impacting diverse wildlife populations and threatening important hunting grounds of several First Nations' communities. Coalspur's development plans could eventually cover a massive 470 sq/km. The area in question is sensitive land. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife, headwaters to the critical Athabasca River and is a key traditional use area and hunting grounds for First Nations people. This land is more important than dirty thermal coal.
Speaking for the campaign to stop Coalspur, Ermineskin's Chief Craig Makinaw called upon the AER to continue a full and diligent review of the proposal. "How can a project like this, that would damage some of Alberta's most pristine wilderness only to supply the dirtiest coal to Asian thermal plants possibly be in the interests of a province trying to project a "green" image internationally? In addition to the damage this project would have on wildlife and the First Nations that depend on this wildlife for sustenance, this project would be yet another environmental black eye for Alberta", said Makinaw.
The campaign to stop Coalspur will start with an international awareness campaign to ensure media and the general public in Canada, Australia and abroad are fully aware of Coalspur's plans. Then, an intensive government lobbying plan will commence. Finally, if needed, any and all legal and other grassroots "on the ground" actions will be initiated to slow Coalspur's progress to a halt. "We know what motivates Coalspur, and it's not their impact on this beautiful land or benefits to Albertans. It's profit," concluded Makinaw.
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SOURCE Whitefish Lake First Nation; Ermineskin Cree Nation