Posted on April 6, 2021 (updated: April 14, 2021)

Tent Mountain coal mine: Niitsitapi Water Protectors, landowners group, environmental orgs urge Canada to designate project for assessment

by Charles W. Bash via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

CALGARY/TERRITORIES OF THE NIITSITAPI (BLACKFOOT) AND PEOPLES OF TREATY 7, INCLUDING THE SIKSIKA, PIIKUNI, KAINAI, TSUUT’INA AND STONEY NAKODA FIRST NATIONS, INCLUDING CHINIKI, BEARSPAW AND WESLEY FIRST NATIONS, HOME TO MÉTIS NATION OF ALBERTA, REGION III

A number of Alberta-based organizations, including a conservation organization, an Indigenous collective and a landowner organization, are calling for a federal review of the Tent Mountain Coal Mine Project in Southern Alberta.

On behalf of CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter, Niitsitapi Water Protectors and the Livingstone Landowners Group, Ecojustice submitted a designation request to the Impact Assessment Agency on April 4.

The organizations feel the project meets many of the relevant factors for designation for review by the Federal Government’s Impact Assessment Agency. The Tent Mountain project, which straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta, is located in the southwest region of the province, 16 km west of the town of Coleman, Alta., in the Crowsnest Pass. It is currently only designated to undergo a provincial assessment, a process which could see the mine begin operations as soon as 2022.

Their letter follows designation requests made by the Kainai/Blood Tribe and Siksika Nations, Member of Parliament Heather McPherson, the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative, the Alberta Wilderness Association, and two local Ranching families. B.C.-based conservation organization Wildsight also submitted a designation request, supporting the argument that because of the cross-boundary nature of the project, a federal assessment is required.

Spokespeople for CPAWS, Ecojustice, the Livingstone Landowners Group and the Niitsitapi Water Protectors issued the following statements:

Katie Morrison, Conservation Director, CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter, said:

“The Tent Mountain Project is likely to have an impact on many topics under federal jurisdiction, including aquatic habitats and species at risk. It also represents yet another significant increase in industrial activity in the area and deserves a thorough review by the federal assessment agency.”

David Khan, Ecojustice lawyer, said:

“The Tent Mountain coal mine threatens clean water, the climate and Indigenous rights. Straddling the B.C. and Alberta border, this mine is part of a suite of intensive coal development projects proposed for the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains — projects Ecojustice’s clients fear will cause irreversible, devastating harm to this region. That’s why, on behalf of our clients, Ecojustice is calling on Minister Wilkinson to designate Tent Mountain for an impact assessment. This process would allow the federal government to understand the project’s full risks and make an informed decision on whether it is in Canadians’ best interests to let the Tent Mountain coal project proceed.”

Bobbi Lambright, Spokesperson from Livingstone Landowners Group, said:

“There has been no active mining on the Tent Mountain site since 1979. Starting up a much larger mine after more than 40 years of inactivity warrants a thorough federal and provincial review, especially given the proposed mine’s location in our important headwaters region.”

Latasha Calf Robe, Co-Lead, Niitsitapi Water Protectors, said:

“All mine activity in the area should be subject to a federal review, given imminent impacts coal development will have on Treaty & Aboriginal rights — the Tent Mountain mine is no exception. The cumulative impacts that coal development is having on First Nations Treaty & Aboriginal rights must be adequately assessed.”

About

CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter: The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s voice for wilderness. We are a non-profit environmental organization working to protect half of Canada’s public land and water. Since 1967, CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter has led conservation efforts to protect areas in Banff National Park, Kananaskis, the Whaleback and the Castle. Our chapter is also a leader in environmental education, offering award-winning programs to help build the next generation of environmental stewards.

Ecojustice uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, public interest lawsuits and advocacy lead to precedent-setting court decisions and law and policy that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.

Livingstone Landowners Group (LLG) represents landowners and supporters of the Livingstone-Porcupine Hills area in southwest Alberta, some of the most biodiverse and sensitive ecosystems in the province. Our mission is to promote responsible planning, use and protection of the rare and irreplaceable land and water resources

Niitsítapi Water Protectors (NWP) is a grassroots collective of Niitsítapi water and land protectors. NWP’s mission is to protect the water and land within the traditional and treaty lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy. NWP was formed in response to the threat of coal development projects within Blackfoot traditional territory and the headwaters of the Oldman River.

For media inquiries

Katie Morrison, Conservation Director | CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter
kmorrison@cpaws.org, 403 463 6337

Venetia Jones, communications specialist | Ecojustice
vjones@ecojustice.ca, 1-800-926-7744 ext. 277

Bobbi Lambright, Spokesperson | Livingstone Landowners Group
info@livingstonelandowners.net, 587-228-9004

Latasha Calf Robe, Co-Lead | Niitsítapi Water Protectors
latashacalfrobe@gmail.com, 587-228-2309

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