AER says no to Grassy Mountain Coal Mine. Must be the “F*ck You Kenney, Mountains Not Mines” mugs going around, reporting by Andrew Nikiforuk, thousands of Albertans yelling “NO!” and study by Brad Stelfox et. al. because “Public Interest” is nowhere in REDA or AER’s mandate.

Did Kenney order AER to do this, because he’s been sliding deep into unpopular hell and wants to be re-elected? He’ll never make Prime Minister of Canada if Albertans turf him.

Best comment to the CBC article below:

Daphne Veilleux:

The People of Alberta have spoken, No Coal mining on the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies!

Mountains Not Mines mugs are back in stock!

2021 06 15: Andrew Nikiforuk in The Tyee: Aussie Coal Mines Pose Big Threat to Southern Alberta’s Water: Study, New scientific research commissioned by local landowners warns of devastating pollution and habitat destruction

new scientific study on controversial metallurgical coal mines being proposed in southern Alberta’s famed eastern slopes says that the open-pit mines will leave a massive and irreversible footprint on water quality and quantity in the arid region.

“Our study has identified significant risks to water quality and quantity and biological diversity in the Oldman River watershed,” Brad Stelfox, the lead author, told The Tyee. Stelfox is the province’s most prominent land use ecologist and founder of the ALCES group which models impact of human activity on natural systems over time.

For starters, says the study, the coal mines would destroy 92 square kilometres of “critical wildlife habitat” and working alpine landscapes in the scenic southern Rockies. They would replace ancient forest groves, native fescue grasses and grizzly bear environs with open-pit mines and large rock waste piles leaching selenium.

Approximately 32 square kilometres of flowing mountain streams and creeks — a prime refuge for cutthroat trout — would be destroyed in the headwaters of the Oldman River watershed.

As a consequence the eight open-pit mines currently proposed by Australian mining firms would disturb an area on the same scale as Teck Resources’ massive coal project in B.C.’s Elk Valley.

That 140-square-kilometre mining project has released large volumes of selenium and other chemicals into water supplies killing large populations of cutthroat trout and changing water quality throughout the Elk River watershed resulting in record fines. It has also contaminated groundwater in the mining community of Sparwood, B.C.

Last spring the Livingstone Landowners Group, a local Alberta organization that has been fighting to conserve the eastern slopes since 2004, commissioned the report in response to repeated Alberta government claims that the mines wouldn’t affect any important watersheds or have any noticeable impacts.

The comprehensive study modelled the impacts of the mines on the land and headwaters of the Oldman River watershed under two-mine and eight-mine scenarios over a five-decade period.

“It’s all about risk. On the one hand we have unparalleled natural capital in the Oldman River watershed,” said Stelfox.

On the other hand coal mining would consume large chunks of that natural capital and change the quality and quantity of water for downstream users forever, added Stelfox.

In particular the study found that selenium, a toxic pollutant that leaches from waste rock piles, would alter water quality in the region whether industry gets the go ahead to proceed with two or as many as eight proposed mines.

“Uncertainty about industry’s ability to manage that selenium risk is very high,” said Stelfox.

According to the report’s modelling, industry would have to prevent the release of 95 per cent of all selenium from mine sites “to meet all water quality standards in the upper reaches of the watershed, and even higher attenuation levels would be needed to prevent harm to the smallest streams nearest to the mines.”

Even as far downstream as Lethbridge, “90 per cent attenuation levels would be required to meet standards for protection of aquatic life.”

But industry hasn’t been able to achieve those standards for selenium capture, said Stelfox. “We have been unable to find evidence that companies mining high-selenium coal deposits of this type can consistently achieve these attenuation levels at full operational scale.”

In contrast, Australian coal speculators, which have commissioned no studies on cumulative impactsoffer a rosier picture for the region, using the term “New Age Coal.”

Riversdale Resources, for example, boasts that they are “committed to using innovative, sustainable and mindful best practices.” It also claims that open-pit coal mines are “compatible” with tourism in the Rockies.

But that’s not what the report found. It calculated, for example, that carbon emissions from the development of the mines (including extraction and burning their output over a 50-year period) would roughly equal seven years’ worth of Alberta’s current emissions — making it impossible for either Canada or Alberta to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The LLG report also underscored how coal mining would exacerbate a variety of water issues in drought-prone southern Alberta.

Given that water is already fully allocated in the Oldman River watershed, junior rights holders may not receive their full allocation during drought years. Coal mines, which consume lots of water, will make that situation worse, said the report.

“Any additional water consumption by mining will exacerbate this conflict and may result in additional water shortages. This problem is likely to worsen if, as most climate models predict, climate change increases frequency of droughts.”

Coal mining also challenges existing sustainable economies in the Oldman River watershed. The region currently supports one of Canada’s oldest ranching communities that has successfully conserved the region’s native fescue grasses.

But coal mining could use up to 40 per cent of mean flow from small and abundant streams in this area. In fact mine water consumption could equal 27 per cent of total gross water demand or the same of the “Oldman River watershed’s entire 1.1 million cattle population.”

The report also questions the adequacy of provincial and federal environmental regulations. Riversdale Resources, which is proposing to take the top off Grassy Mountain in the Crowsnest Pass, claims that Canada, a mining republic just like Australia, “has one of the world’s most extensive regulatory systems.”

In contrast the report found that oversight on abandoned and closed coal mines had been extremely poor in Alberta.

Coal mines in the McLeod River drainage, for example, “have similarly led to release of selenium and other pollutants such as sodium, aluminum, calcite and nitrate, many of which exceed government safety guidelines for some or all of aquatic habitat and irrigation use.”

In addition the coal industry cannot restore mountains to their previous ecological function. The industry, just like oil and gas, also has a long and troubled history of securing funds for reclamation. Alberta’s auditor general has repeatedly criticized the government’s mine financial security program because it has let liabilities outstrip security bonds by 30 to one.

The LLG report estimates “that only about 25 per cent of disturbed mine area in the Oldman River watershed will be reclaimed by the end of the 50-year study period, leaving a substantial reclamation bill for the future.”

On June 16, Robin Campbell, president of the Coal Association of Canada, responded to The Tyee’s request for comment with this statement: “We will not comment on a study that we have not had the opportunity to review in detail. However, we will say that the coal industry is committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner and in accordance with the comprehensive regulatory requirements in Alberta and Canada. We agree selenium monitoring and management are important and are committed to addressing this and other issues through the policy review process that is now underway.”

The Tyee also reached out to Riversdale Resources and has not received a response.

The recommendations of a joint federal provincial environment assessment review on one of the proposed mines, the Grassy Mountain project, are expected to be released this Friday.

That joint review panel pointedly refused to look at cumulative impacts.

Canada is the world’s third largest exporter of coking coal used to make steel — largely due to B.C.’s Teck project in the Elk Valley.

The LLG report concludes by noting that Land-use Framework of the Government of Alberta “mandates that an exhaustive cumulative effects assessment is required before approving regional coal mining of the scale considered in this report. No such assessment has yet taken place for the Oldman River watershed.”

The study, which includes both a technical and general report, was paid for by Alberta landowners and private donors. Six different scientists with expertise ranging from hydrology to land ecology contributed to the reports.

One of the scientists, Bill Donahue, formally worked for the provincial government as Alberta’s chief monitoring officer, the executive director of both monitoring and science in Alberta Environment and Parks.

Why are main media pimping AER’s excuse of “public interest?”

Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest, ‘In some cases the claimed effectiveness of the proposed measures was overly optimistic and not supported by the evidence,’ the report says by The Canadian Press, Jun 17, 2021, Calgary Herald

A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring.

In its 680-page report released Thursday, the panel questioned the ability of Benga Mining, owned by Riversdale Resources, to control the release of selenium from its proposed Grassy Mountain mine.

“In some cases the claimed effectiveness of the proposed measures was overly optimistic and not supported by the evidence,” the report says. “As a result, we are not confident about the technical and economic feasibility of some proposed mitigation measures.

“We find that this was particularly true for effects on surface water quality, westslope cutthroat trout (and fish and fish habitat more generally), and vegetation.”

A spokesman for Riversdale Resources or Benga Mining was not immediately available for comment.

Riversdale first filed its environmental impact assessment on the mine in 2016. Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall.

The mine, said Riversdale, would create about 500 jobs during two years of construction and 400 over its 23-year life. The company said it would pay $1.7 billion in royalties and $35 million in municipal taxes over that time.

It was supported by many in the town of Crowsnest Pass.

But concerns were raised during hearings about the chance the mine could contaminate headwaters of the Oldman River with selenium, an element commonly found in coal mines that is toxic to fish in large doses.

Riversdale argued the mine would capture up to 98 per cent of selenium release.

Probably not, said the panel. “The project as proposed is unlikely to achieve this capture efficiency.”

The panel criticized Riversdale for using optimistic assumptions and relying on unspecified “adaptive management” measures if problems arose. It said its reclamation plans were vague and pointed out that much of the land wouldn’t be available for reclamation for 25 years after the mine closed.

The review panel also concluded the mine would damage ecosystems and impair the cultural and physical heritage of local First Nations, even though most had signed agreements with the mine and didn’t object to it.

Nor was the panel convinced by the mine’s economic arguments.

“We are not able to verify the magnitude of the estimated benefits,” it said. “We find that Benga’s estimated royalty payments are likely overstated.”

The panel advises federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to turn the mine down. It has also denied the project’s permit applications under provincial laws.

Alberta’s Environment Minister Jason Nixon and Energy Minister Sonya Savage said the panel’s conclusions prove the rigour of the province’s regulatory system.

“We are continuing the process of widespread public engagement to inform the province’s long-term approach to coal and will have more to say on water quality management in the days ahead,” they said in a joint statement. …

Three groups that had long opposed the mine issued a joint press release.

“We take heart from the panel’s decision and their recognition of the significant adverse environmental consequences associated with the Grassy Mountain proposal,” said Bobbi Lambright of the Livingstone Landowners Group, a group of local ranchers and residents. “We have always seen Grassy Mountain as the litmus test for other coal development in the area.”

Katie Morrison of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society said, “We are happy that this decision prioritizes clean water, fish and wildlife species at risk.”

Latasha Calf Robe of the Niitsitapi Water Protectors added: “Projects that will have adverse effects on Niitsitapi ways of life, culture and rights should not proceed and we are grateful that the panel acknowledged the severe impacts a project such as this would have.”

The mine is the first of a number of coal projects proposed for the mountains and foothills of Alberta’s western boundary. At least eight companies have taken large exploration leases.

The exploration rush took off last spring after the United Conservative government revoked a decades-old policy that protected the area against open-pit coal mines.

It sparked public outrage from First Nations, municipalities and thousands of Albertans.

In response, the province restored the policy, paused the sale of new leases and suspended permits for exploration work on the most sensitive landscapes. Work in less sensitive areas continues.

Earlier this week, Wilkinson announced that any proposals from those exploration leases would be subject to a federal environmental review. He said concerns about selenium prompted the move.

Grassy Mountain coal project ‘not in the public interest,’ review panel says, Panel concluded the project is likely to result in adverse environmental effects by CBC News, Jun 17, 2021

A gate blocks public access up the road to the proposed site of the Grassy Mountain mining project, just north of Blairmore, in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

A review panel for the Alberta Energy Regulator has denied the provincial application for the Grassy Mountain Coal project, ruling the project is “not in the public interest.”

“The panel’s decision reflects the AER’s commitment to making evidence-based and risk-informed decisions in the public interest,” said Laurie Pushor, president and CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator, in a release.

REDA Reality Check:

End REDA Reality Check.

In a statement, Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon said they respected the panel’s recommendation.

“All proposed coal projects are subject to stringent review to ensure development is safe, environmentally responsible and meets all requirements,” the statement reads.

“In this case, the process worked as it should. The panel’s recommendation demonstrates that Alberta’s legislative and regulatory framework is robust and thoroughly considers environmental impacts as part of any resource development project.”

Project was in the works for years

… The plan for the proposed Grassy Mountain project, located roughly seven kilometres north of Blairmore, was to pick up where a previous mine had left off. A section of the 1,500-hectare site has already been disturbed by previous mining activity decades ago.

Construction equipment near Grassy Mountain, with Crowsnest Mountain in the background. The Alberta Energy Regulator says the coal project is not in the public interest and has denied the provincial applications. (CBC)

Australia-based Riversdale Resources submitted a proposal to regulators in 2016 for the project, which it estimates could produce 4.5 million tonnes of steel-making coal annually over the mine’s 23-year lifespan.

The company estimates this would have created nearly 400 full-time jobs.

Other Australian coal companies had been watching closely, as they ramped up exploration and drew up plans for mines of their own.

“I would say the industry is looking to the success of Riversdale’s project, because it’s the first in the Crowsnest Pass area,” Atrum Coal’s then-CEO Max Wang told the Calgary Herald in 2018.

“There are quite a number of global investors, mostly from Australia, interested in that region … but they are very much looking to the success of Grassy Mountain.”

The difference in coal-mining activity between southwestern Alberta and southeastern B.C. dates back to Alberta’s Coal Development Policy, which was adopted by premier Peter Lougheed’s government in 1976 with the dual goals of increasing government royalties and protecting sensitive lands.

The UCP government rescinded that policy last year, sparking a backlash from a wide range of Albertans, including environmentalists, ranchers and tourism operators.

In February, the government backtracked and re-instated the Lougheed-era policy for the time being, pending further consultation.

Federal government also involved

The Grassy Mountain project was supported by the mayor of Crowsnest Pass and many residents hoped it would bring high-paying jobs to an area of the province with few such employment opportunities.

But concerns were raised during a hearing about the chance the mine could contaminate headwaters of the Oldman River with selenium. The element commonly found in coal mines is toxic to fish in large doses, and has been linked to fish deaths and deformations downstream of mines just to the west in B.C.

The review panel also heard the mine would damage ecosystems and impair the cultural and physical heritage of three local First Nations, although the council of the nearby Piikani First Nation had officially supported the project.

“The mitigation measures proposed are not sufficient to fully mitigate these effects,” says the report.

The panel advises federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to turn the mine down. It has also denied the project’s permit applications under provincial laws.

The Grassy Mountain mine is the first of a number of coal projects that have been proposed for the mountains and foothills of Alberta’s western boundary. At least eight companies have taken large exploration leases.

John Smith, a rancher with the Plateau Cattle Company, was among those who gathered on June 16, 2021, to protest against allowing open-pit coal mining in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. (Leah Hennel/CBC)

In April, however, the province announced a suspension of coal exploration activity in lands classified as “Category 2” under the Lougheed-era coal policy — again, pending further public consultation.

Category 2 lands were subject to more stringent restrictions, and open-pit mining was not normally allowed in these areas.

The Grassy Mountain project, however, was located on a section of Category 4 land, with fewer restrictions under the 1976 policy.

Earlier this week, Wilkinson announced that any proposals from those exploration leases would be subject to a federal environmental review. He said concerns about selenium prompted the move.

A few more comments:

Dallas Mehnke:

Wow…..I’m seriously amazed..I though this would be rubber stamped

Moh’d Bhim Reply to @Dallas Mehnke:

It was Rubber Stamped – that was expected after the debacle of issuing the approvals – “face saving”

Frank Fretter:

I’m sure there will be more than a few Personnel Changes made to the AER and the Proposal will be resubmitted, and the 2nd, or if Necessary, the 3rd time, will be given Rave Reviews to proceed by the AER

T.Rosco Duncan:

I now expect Kenney and Nixon to claim they have never supported this idea and then throw sonja under the bus

Brian Dufoe:

don’t you just love it when a company from afar comes in and destroys.

Seamus Oregan:

Just so you are all aware – this company they hate in Australia because of their environmental record. They were laughing at us for even considering having them run here. Kenney, I voted for you and never again. You are an unmitigated disaster.


Joint Review Panel for Grassy Mountain Coal Project Concludes its Review Press Release by “No Duty of Care” legally immune Charter-violator AER, June 17, 2021

The joint review panel for Benga Mining Limited’s Grassy Mountain Coal Project has completed its review.

The panel submitted its report to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. In its report, the panel sets out its rationale, conclusions and recommendations for the Government of Canada.

The report includes the panel’s decisions in its capacity as the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for the provincial applications.

The panel concluded that the project is likely to result in:

  • significant adverse environmental effects on surface water quality, westslope cutthroat trout and its habitat, whitebark pine, rough fescue grasslands, and vegetation species and community biodiversity; and
  • significant adverse effects on physical and cultural heritage of some First Nations.

In its capacity as the AER, the panel determined that the adverse environmental effects on surface water quality and westslope cutthroat trout and its habitat outweigh the positive economic impacts of the project and the project is not in the public interest. The panel has denied Benga’s applications under the Coal Conservation Act and related applications under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement ActWater Act, and Public Lands Act.

The panel’s report, which includes an executive summary, is available on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry, reference number 80101, and on the Alberta Energy Regulator website.

About the Project

Benga Mining Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Riversdale Resources Limited, proposed to construct and operate an open-pit metallurgical coal mine near the Crowsnest Pass, approximately seven kilometres north of the community of Blairmore, in southwest Alberta. As proposed, the production capacity of the project would have been a maximum of 4.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year over an operating mine-life of about 23 years.

About the Joint Review Panel

The joint review panel for the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Chief Executive Officer of the AER to assess the environmental effects of the project and review the associated applications. The review was completed in accordance with the Agreement to Establish a Joint Review Panel for the Grassy Mountain Coal Project, issued on August 16, 2018.

During its review, the panel held virtual public hearing sessions and heard extensive evidence from the proponent, Indigenous groups, non-governmental organizations, the public, and the federal government.

Media may contact

Cara Tobin, Public Relations
Alberta Energy Regulator
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Kenneth Downs, Communications
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
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Dear Participants,

The joint review panel (the panel) for Benga Mining Limited’s Grassy Mountain Coal Project has completed its review. The panel submitted its report to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

In its report, the panel sets out its rationale, conclusions and recommendations for the Government of Canada. The report includes the panel’s decisions in its capacity as the Alberta Energy Regulator for the provincial applications.

The panel’s report, which includes an executive summary, is available on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry, reference number 80101: (CIAR #5093)

The report is also available on the Alberta Energy Regulator website:

The executive summary is available separately here: (CIAR #5094)

The panel’s news release is available here: (CIAR #5095)

You are receiving this message as a member of the distribution list for the review of the project. The responsibility for the distribution list will now be transferred to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. If you would prefer not to receive emails regarding this project, please send a message to email hidden; JavaScript is required.


Panel Secretariat

Grassy Mountain Coal Project

Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

22nd Floor, 160 Elgin St. Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

Telephone (Toll-free): 1-866-582-1884

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Chers participants,

La commission d’examen conjoint (la commission) pour le projet de mine de charbon Grassy Mountain de Benga Mining Limited a terminé son examen. La commission a présenté son rapport au ministre de l’Environnement et du Changement climatique.

Dans son rapport, la commission expose sa justification, ses conclusions et ses recommandations pour le gouvernement du Canada. Le rapport comprend les décisions que la commission a prises en sa qualité de l’Alberta Energy Regulator pour les demandes provinciales.

Le rapport de la commission, qui comprend un résumé, peut être consulté sur le Registre canadien d’évaluation d’impact, numéro de référence 80101 : (RCÉI #5093)

Le rapport peut être aussi consulté sur le site Web de l’Alberta Energy Regulator :

Le résumé est disponible séparément ici : (RCÉI #5094)

Le communiqué de presse de la commission est disponible ici : (RCÉI #5095)

Veuillez noter que vous recevez ce message en tant que membre de la liste de distribution pour l’évaluation du projet. La liste de distribution sera maintenant la responsabilité de l’Agence d’évaluation d’impact du Canada. Si vous préférez ne pas recevoir de messages concernant ce projet, prière d’envoyer un message à email hidden; JavaScript is required.


Secrétariat de la commission

Projet de mine de charbon Grassy Mountain

Agence d’évaluation d’impact du Canada

22e étage, 160, rue Elgin, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Téléphone (sans frais): 1-866-582-1884

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Refer also to:

Nikiforuk: The Fate of the Canadian Rockies May Rest on This Decision

Nikiforuk: Kenney’s Coal ‘Review’ Is Just One More Betrayal

Nikiforuk: When Is Mountaintop Removal Not Mountaintop Removal? In Alberta, of Course!

Nikiforuk: Don’t Be Fooled: Alberta Is Still Playing the Coal Game

Nikiforuk: Critics Skeptical as Alberta Reverses Course on Open-pit Coal Mines

Nikiforuk: Trust Alberta’s Energy Regulator to Safeguard Coal Mines?

Nikiforuk: Months Before Albertans Were Told, Australian Miners Knew Plans to Axe Coal Policy

Nikiforuk: Loads of Coal Disinformation from the Kenney Government

Nikiforuk: Alberta’s Cancelled Coal Leases Called a ‘Trick’

Nikiforuk: Singers, Ranchers and Environmentalists Are Now Battling Kenney’s Coal Plan

Nikiforuk: Alberta Government Fines Hunter for Trespassing on Australian Coal Lease, Levi Williams-Whitney traversed the land to make a video opposing open-pit mining. He has no regrets

12,048 SHARES [as of June 17, 2021; for just this article about Mr. Williams-Whitney]

Still from a video made by Levi Williams-Whitney, titled A Hunter’s Perspective: Open Pit Coal Mining in Alberta.

The Kenney government has fined an Alberta hunter $600 for making an anti-coal video, but the young man says he’s laughing.

Last October, Levi Williams-Whitney went for a gambol up Grassy Mountain just north of the town of Blairmore in Alberta’s historic Crowsnest Pass.

Much of the mountain is now owned by Benga Mining (Riversdale Resources), a firm purchased by Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart in 2019 for $700 million.

With the Kenney government’s blessings, Rinehart, an iron-ore magnate and Australia’s wealthiest woman, has proposed to reduce what is now the habitat of mountain sheep, trout and elk into a giant open-pit coal mine. (The mountain top removal project is under a joint federal-provincial review.)

Another bunch of Australian developers want to remove more than half a dozen other nearby mountains from the Rockies to also supply Asian steel markets. They, too, have the government’s enthusiastic support.

Williams-Whitney, an avid hunter and environmental student at the University of Lethbridge, wasn’t impressed with Rinehart’s plans, let alone the Alberta government’s red-carpet treatment for Australian coal miners.

“The video was my way to express some of my frustration and refine my thinking about the issues,” said Williams-Whitney who has hunted for elk in the eastern slopes for years.

So he drove an hour-and-a-half from his home in Lethbridge to the Crowsnest Pass, where underground coal mines, French coal barons and communist unions once dominated the region’s turbulent history some 100 years ago.

“It was spur of the moment. I didn’t really have a plan, but I found a road up the mountain and went for a tour.”

The gates on the road were all open, and Williams-Whitney drove in and parked. He took a long walk on the mountain. “It was just gorgeous.”

He later posted a three-minute video showing how beautiful the area remains despite a century of underground mining and all the trauma that coal economies inflict on people and the land alike.

The video titled A Hunter’s Perspective: Open Pit Coal Mining in Alberta highlighted the intractable problem of selenium pollution “that could jeopardize the very water that irrigates our crops and hydrates our cattle.”

He encouraged Albertans to phone their MLAs. That’s when Williams-Whitney got a call, he said.

An Alberta fish and wildlife officer informed him that “We’ve got a complaint that you have been trespassing.”

A few days later, the officer drove 90 minutes to Lethbridge to the hunter’s home to personally deliver the hefty $600 fine.

The friendly officer revealed that Benga Mining, the company owned by Rinehart, had pressed the complaint and wanted charges filed.

851px version of PendingMineSitesAlberta.jpg
Pending open-pit coal mining and exploration sites sought by Australian companies along the southeastern flank of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Image via Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Contacted by The Tyee, Benga Mining confirmed the story. “The Grassy Mountain Road is on private land with openly posted No Trespassing signs,” said Jackie Woodman, interim manager public affairs.

“For the safety of the person trespassing, and for the safety and protection of our property, we maintain a strict policy of not allowing trespassing.”

The fish and wildlife officer also showed Williams-Whitney a 10-page file on his indiscretion, including photographs of his vehicle.

Williams-Whitney thought: “Well, that was an interesting move by the company.”

He said he laughed to himself as he imagined the Australian firm holding a querulous board meeting asking “what are we going to do about this Levi guy?”

He then posted a photograph of the trespassing fine on Facebook with this note: “Looks like my friends at Benga Mining Corporation saw the video as well and didn’t take too kindly to it. I’ve been charged for trespassing on private land. Which is fair, because I did drive up a previously publicly owned road (they left all of the gates open) and hiked up a previously publicly owned mountain.”

The hunter quickly watched his YouTube video jump to 10,000 views. “So more people got to see it,” he noted.

Several people offered to pay his fine, but Williams-Whitney, who takes full accountability for his actions, declined.

“This open-pit coal mining is so short-sighted and moves Alberta in the wrong direction,” he said.

As for the fine, the hunter is still chuckling about the giant boost it gave his video.

“If there hadn’t been a video, I bet I would have heard nothing about my walk,” said Williams-Whitney. “I think I was charged for the video under the name of trespassing.”

Nikiforuk: Threatened by Coal, Ranchers Take the Kenney Government to Court

Nikiforuk: BC’s Coal Mining Has Failed to Deliver, Finds Report

Nikiforuk: What Kenney Had to Kill to Embrace Coal Alberta’s 1976 Coal Policy protected vital drinking water supplies for much of the province. That’s gone now.

Nikiforuk: The Australian Invasion: Big Coal’s Plans for Alberta, Meet the speculators from Down Under aiming to carve up the Rockies with a chain of open-pit mines. And the growing revolt.


How much environmental damage has already been done?

How many $billions will Albertans have to pay the ozzie coal billionaires to exit after behind closed door promises and coochi coos from UCP?

Australia News Live: NSW gov’t pays Shenhua mining company more than $362 Million to exit *one* coal mine. What would Albertans have to pay to exit eight?

Lorne Fitch: “Open Letter to Investors in Coal: Psst! Wanna buy a coal mine?” Alberta’s Reclamation in the Eastern Slopes: Lipstick on a Decapitated Corpse. biff: “What better name for a minister in charge of rape, pillage and plunder of our natural and needed lands: savage.”

Canada takes 9 years to fine Teck for contaminating waterways. Will Teck Pay? Given Teck’s history, unlikely. Is this just another pretend to regulate to make Albertans stop protesting coal mining in the Eastern Slopes? Lars Sander-Green: “What Teck and other mining companies have learned is not to worry about Environment Canada”

Remember this deflective avoid water crap? “Ring around the Rosie” Catch 22: AER & Alberta Environment ping pong game benefits corporations and the rich. Energy Minister Sonia Savage: “No, that water is under the Alberta Environment and Park’s responsibility and the Alberta Energy Regulator makes decisions regarding coal projects and water was not going to be part of the coal policy review.”

“When does no mean no?” (To a rapist, never.) Lethbridge & Calgary said “NO!” to frac’ing; Albertans say “NO!” to mining of the Easter Slopes. Go home Ozzie coal. NO means NO!

Brilliant comment by kootzie to coal propaganda in BOE Report: “Tainted apologism for unrestrained assaults on Alberta by a hired petro-stooge who will write anything to carve off a chunk of the project management pie.”

Study: Birth defects **significantly** more common in areas of strip mining/open pit/mountaintop coal mining; Health effects of related air and water contamination appear cumulative. Never forget: Courts ruled in Ernst vs AER that it is legally immune, owes no duty of care and is above Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. AER has no public health mandate and the Alberta gov’t removed its public interest mandate after the Ernst lawsuit went public. There is no authority to protect Albertans, our health, our rights and drinking water, and the feds have gone AWOL.

Feb 25, 2021, 7 – 8:30 pm: Expert panel on infectious lung disease and air pollution (especially important for those living/working in/near Alberta’s toxic tarsands, coal mining and or in frac zones)

Canadian & Alberta gov’ts & Australian coal billionaire Gina Reinhart! Listen up: “Water is more important than coal and mountains hold more value than mines.”

2020: AER’s new “Dickhead” Laurie Pushor off to Kenney-wanna-be-Trump races: “No Duty of Care” AER abuses Covid-19 crisis to deregulate oilpatch and foothills coal mining. (Stephen Cousin’s sketch may offend some, but it’s too perfect not to add to this vulgar news.)

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