The Grassy Narrows Project is a proposal to establish open-pit coal mining in the southern Canadian Rockies. A panel will soon decide whether or not to approve the proposal. Andrew Nikiforuk writes:
If the panel gives the contentious metallurgical coal mine a green light, the doors could open for other existing proposals that could industrialize nearly 1,000 square kilometres of the Rockies and threaten the region’s scarce water supplies.
Much hinges on the panel’s report and recommendations that will be submitted to federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson next month.
Unsurprisingly, Jason Kenney is a full-throated supporter of the project:
For starters, the Alberta government of Jason Kenney has strongly championed Australian metallurgical coal developers as an important new source of jobs and revenue that could replace shrinking oilsands developments in the province.
All the steel-making coal would be shipped to Vancouver-area terminals for export to China or India.
In addition, the province and the Coal Association of Canada, directed by former Alberta Tory environment minister Colin Campbell, have tried to sell open-pit coal mining as a form of “reconciliation” that can enrich First Nations.
Meanwhile, the Kenney government hopes the Grassy Mountain Coal Project, owned by right-wing political activist and Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart, will be the first of eight proposed mines in the watershed of the Oldman River which, in turn, feeds the South Saskatchewan River.
As the market for Alberta oil dries up, Kenney is betting that Asia will buy up huge chunks of Alberta carbon.
Keep your eye on this one.
Image: People's World