The provincial government has released the initial results from its coal policy engagement survey and Albertans overwhelmingly oppose most coal development.
The results, released on the Alberta government’s website Monday, said the majority of Albertans feel the management of the province’s coal resources affects them and most are concerned about coal exploration.
The majority of respondents feel there are areas of the province that are not appropriate for coal development, while almost one-third of respondents say that there are areas of the province where development could be appropriate.
There were more than 24,000 responses to the survey, including 8,807 from the Central zone.
Nearly 64 per cent of Albertans believe that the economic benefits of coal development are not important to Alberta at all, with 24 per cent ranking it somewhat important and 7.7 per cent saying very important.
More than 90 per cent of respondents felt there are areas of the province that are not appropriate for coal exploration and development.
Areas that were suggested to remain off-limits for development included the Rockies and the foothills Wildlife corridors, Areas near watersheds or major bodies of water, lands in Categories 1, 2 and 3, recreational areas, ecologically sensitive areas, areas in close proximity to residential areas and areas in close proximity to farms.
Many respondents also indicated that they are familiar with the 1976 Coal Policy and coal categories, with 26 per cent “very familiar” and 56 per cent “somewhat familiar.”
In general, respondents also said they were familiar with coal exploration and development in Alberta. The majority of respondents indicated they were also familiar with the uses of metallurgical and thermal coal.
The survey took place from March 29 to April 19 and was released on May 17.
The Alberta government has also established a committee to develop and lead an engagement process that captures the views of all Albertans.
According to the government’s website, the committee will provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Energy. Their final report is due November 15, 2021.