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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Hundreds gather in support of coal mining in the Crowsnest Pass


While some groups may have breathed a sigh of relief last month when the Grassy Mountain Coal Project was denied by a joint review panel, many residents in the Crowsnest Pass say they were disappointed with the decision.

Hundreds showed up at the Hillcrest Miners Club on Thursday night in search of answers, with organizers saying the mine would have created countless new opportunities in the area.

Read more:
Appeals requested over Grassy Mountain Coal Project decision

“This was huge for us,” said Lisa Sygutek. “We have no young people in our community. We’re the oldest community, per capita, in Alberta. This could allow our children to live here.”

“This mine, I can’t even put into words how much it meant to this community as we move forward into a prosperous community that pulls our weight in Alberta.”

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Organizer Eric Lowther says confusion over what led to the project being denied spurred the event, with those in attendance looking for answers.


Click to play video: 'Appeals requested over Grassy Mountain Coal Project decision'







Appeals requested over Grassy Mountain Coal Project decision


Appeals requested over Grassy Mountain Coal Project decision

“I think a lot of the people coming here tonight are people who have families or businesses in the Crowsnest Pass, and they’ve been here for a long time,” Lowther said.

“They have seen the town and the area struggle and this was a ray of light, possibly, for the future of the town to be stronger.”

Read more:
Another First Nation files request to allow appeal of decision on Grassy Mountain coal project

The decision in June, from the joint federal-provincial review panel, included a 680-page report saying that the Grassy Mountain mine was not in the public interest; citing impacts on Indigenous rights as well as environmental concerns.

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The panel questioned the ability of Benga Mining, owned by Riversdale Resources, to control the release of selenium from the proposed open-pit coal mine.


Click to play video: 'Piikani Nation members want more involvement in public coal consultations'







Piikani Nation members want more involvement in public coal consultations


Piikani Nation members want more involvement in public coal consultations – Mar 25, 2021

Organizers say those in attendance are also passionate about the environment and preserving the beautiful area they call home.

“With the right practices and in the 21st Century, the two can exist together,” said Lowther.

“Protect the environment and [provide] limited access to some of the best resources in the world.”

“Industry and environment can work hand-in-hand,” Sygutek agreed. “There’s science that can help us do what we need to do or there wouldn’t be coal mining anywhere in the world right now.”

Read more:
Coal company considers legal options after review denies Grassy Mountain mine in Alberta Rockies

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She believes the panel’s decision was influenced by a “very small percentage of people with very loud voices” and says Thursday’s gathering was her community pushing back.

“This gives our community an opportunity to say: ‘You don’t get to do that to the Crowsnest Pass.’”


Click to play video: 'Country artist Corb Lund and ranchers want Canadians to see what’s under threat of coal exploration'







Country artist Corb Lund and ranchers want Canadians to see what’s under threat of coal exploration


Country artist Corb Lund and ranchers want Canadians to see what’s under threat of coal exploration – Jun 16, 2021

Organizers say they hope to see the group continue to band together in support of coal’s future in the area.

Benga Mining announced earlier this week that it is beginning the process to appeal the decision.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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