CALGARY, ALTA. — Alberta has snatched back 11 recent coal leases and has declared a pause on any future coal leases in the Rocky Mountains.
“We have listened carefully to the concerns raised in recent days, and thank those who spoke up with passion,” said Sonya Savage, minister of energy, in a statement. “As a result, we will pause future coal lease sales in former Category 2 lands. The coal leases from the December 2020 auction will be cancelled.”
The decision came after more than 100,000 Albertans signed petitions objecting to the leases.
Savage explained that under the current terms, just as it was under the 1976 coal policy, coal leases do not allow for exploration, development or production without a comprehensive regulatory review.
“A lease holder has no more right to set foot on lease property than any other Albertan,” she said. “The same rules apply now, as before.”
Savage said the province will use the pause to review its policies and make sure the interests of Albertans are being protected.
“Coal development remains an important part of the Western Canadian economy, especially in rural communities, but we are committed to demonstrating that it will only be developed responsibly under Alberta’s modern regulatory standards and processes,” she said, noting the decision has no impact on existing coal projects currently under regulatory review.