LETHBRIDGE, AB – The future of coal mining in the province has been a big issue in recent weeks and now the City of Lethbridge is adding its voice to the mix.
This week, Councillors unanimously passed an official business resolution to support other communities in their concerns.
As Lethbridge is downstream and gets its water from the Oldman River, any proposed mining projects have the potential of affecting the water in the entire Oldman Watershed, so council members say they want their position to be noted.
Councillor Belinda Crowson says right now there is little scientific information on how to address selenium at the water treatment level and there are growing concerns among other southern Alberta communities. “This is about both quality and quantity of water. A large part of our amendments focused on that point and the potential detrimental effects on agriculture, industry and people in worst case scenarios.”
Mayor Chris Spearman will write a letter to the Premier and two government ministers. It will include:
- Thank the Government of Alberta for re-instating the 1976 Coal Policy
- Bring forward a comprehensive public consultation on proposed changes to the 1976 policy
- Complete a thorough and complete analysis of potential watershed impacts that will result from allocating water to mining operations that could impact the supply of water to existing and future downstream users
- Complete a thorough and complete analysis of potential water quality impacts from mining operations, including but not limited to, higher levels of selenium in the river systems
- To review the Mine Financial Security Program to ensure that it is properly financed to ensure reclamation of any project that may go ahead
- A full stop on any and all Watershed Water Allocation amendments, including those in the Oldman Watershed, pending Public Consultation on a new Alberta Coal Policy and comprehensive review of the potential watershed impacts on the Oldman Basin
- Support on the Stop Work Orders for all existing exploration
- Invite the two Lethbridge MLAs and the Member of Parliament for Lethbridge to a conversation with Council on these matters, and to forward a copy of the letter to them