New Democrat MP tables private bill, wants federal assessment of coal projects

Alberta NDP MP Heather McPherson has tabled a bill requiring federal environmental assessments of new coal-mining proposals. The bill comes in reaction to a Kenney plan, since reversed, to open new coal mines in the Rocky Mountains.

OTTAWA — Alberta's lone New Democrat member of Parliament is asking Ottawa to require that all coal-mining proposals go through a full federal environmental assessment.

Heather McPherson says her private member's bill, tabled today, would remove a threshold on size that new mines must now cross before they are federally reviewed.

She says the bill is in response to the large number of projects proposed in Alberta's Rocky Mountains after the province's United Conservative government removed a long-standing policy that protected the land in the region.

After a loud public outcry, the policy was temporarily restored.

McPherson says she's been hearing from many Albertans who say they don't trust the province's environmental oversight.

First Nations, Alberta communities and environmental groups have already asked federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson for a review of many coal projects.

He is expected to rule on the first such request, concerning the Montem Resources Tent Mountain project, on July 1.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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