Alberta govt lawyer argues Premier Kenney can destroy Rocky Mountains if he wants

An Alberta government lawyer says it's up to Premier Kenney whether to end a policy to protect the Rocky Mountains form coal mining. But area First Nations and ranchers say the Logheed-era policy is now embedded in law.

The Canadian Press

CALGARY — An Alberta government lawyer says decisions about environmental policy should be made by elected officials, not the courts.

Melissa Burkett is speaking at a court hearing that is to decide whether a request for a judicial review into Alberta's decision to revoke a policy protecting the Rocky Mountains from coal mining can proceed.

She says the decision revoked a policy, not a law or a regulation, and was entirely within the responsibility of Energy Minister Sonya Savage.

She says when the policy was first adopted in 1976 it anticipated a thorough regulatory process, which now exists in the province.

Burkett argues that because the Alberta Energy Regulator would review any mine application, revoking the coal policy made little difference.

Savage revoked the policy last May without any public consultation, which area ranchers and First Nations say violated laws that have incorporated its guidelines.

The decision has been widely criticized, with petitions opposing it gathering more than 100,000 signatures.

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