Trudeau’s last middle finger to Alberta: Grassy Mountain project vetoed

After 5 years of deliberation, Canada’s Liberal Government has officially blocked Alberta’s Grassy Mountain Coal Project, dealing yet another devastating blow to the continued economic prosperity of the industrial province.

The project was initially proposed in 2016 by Benga Mining Limited (Benga), which is owned by Riversdale Resources Limited. As per federal documents, the company was “proposing to develop a nominal 4.5 million clean tonnes per year steelmaking coal mine,” roughly 7 km North of Blairmore, Alberta in the Crowsnest Pass.

The intended outcomes of the project were to re-establish a historical coal mine to ship clean steelmaking coal to overseas producers, such as China. In totality, the project would have generated 1,100 jobs in its initial phase (approximately 700 for construction and 400 full time employees during the initial operations) and likely grossed hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, if not billions each year.

Despite this project being a phenomenal money-making prospect, officials including a federal review panel have stated that the project must be scrapped as it “is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects under CEAA 2012,” and is “not in the public interest.”

According to the government, “The Government of Canada recognizes the mining sector as an important economic driver in Canada. However, the mining of coal can include significant adverse environmental effects—leading to impacts that matter to Canadians.”

More specifically, the government cites four major concerns regarding the project:

  1. “Surface water quality, including selenium effluent discharge.

  2. “Westslope Cutthroat Trout, listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act, and its habitat.

  3. “Whitebark Pine, listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act; and

  4. “Physical and cultural heritage of the Kainai, Piikani and Siksika First Nations.”

This is certainly not the first time the federal government has deferred to environmental concerns to stifle the economy of Alberta.

Most Canadians will remember the infamous disaster which has been the Trans Mountain Pipeline, another project which, though now approved, has faced a whole host of delays, extreme nitpicking, and scrutiny. In this instance, again, the government cited a mix of environmental concerns and obtrusions to Native Reserves. This is despite the Pipeline being a potential boon to Native Canadian communities who will be granted access to high paying jobs and are still an essential part of discussions surrounding the project.

Unfortunately, unlike the pipeline, the Grassy Mountain Coal Project will be retired to the history books of anti-Albertan decisions taken by the feds.

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