There are so many concerns about mining the Eastern Slopes and Foothills of Albertas Rocky Mountains.
The biggest issue I see is selenium and arsenic contamination of the watersheds. What is the government prepared to do about this problem? To date there is not an effective method of removal that has been developed. That is an issue we all should be looking at seriously. If we look right here in Alberta there are reported cases of unsuccessful removal of toxic levels of both of selenium and arsenic in our watersheds due to mining. Across the border in B.C. we see the same issues on a bigger scale. Do we want this for Alberta?
Is the UCP government and Albertans aware of the limited water supply, and how much their proposed allotment to mining companies will adversely affect the many users downstream including municipalities, irrigation systems, ranchers, farmers, other industry, etc?
Coal dust is very real threat to the health of flora, fauna, and human populations in the affected areas. Respiratory problems are one the worst issues. Health experts have linked exposure to coal dust to respiratory illnesses such as pulmonary inflammation, asthma, heart attacks and cancer risks. Does our government also know that coal, when in direct contact with oxygen can lead to spontaneous combustion? Are there measures in place to eliminate these potential dangers?
What about the potential loss of tourism revenue that will result? Who will be coming to Alberta to see landscapes scarred by surface mining?
On a personal level what about the loss of recreation area for Albertans who rely on these areas for hiking, horseback riding, camping, angling, quading, sledding, biking, hiking, wildlife photography, scenic drives, rafting the rivers, picnics, hunting or just their mental well being? These areas are home to us. These areas are what make us Albertans and hold us together as a province.
Why is Alberta’s UCP Government ignoring the voice of over 70 per cent of its voting consistency and pushing forward with mining? Will this be like the Keystone XL pipelines with Albertans left picking up the tab?
In light of all these big questions, how can we justify allowing any surface coal mining anywhere in Alberta, especially on the Eastern Slopes and Foothills?
Sherry Quintilio, Sundre