The Grassy ruling gives the Oldman hope
A recent letter to the editor written by Tim Juhlin lauds the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Mine Project and criticizes the “no mine” decision delivered by the Joint (federal/provincial) Review Panel.
Mr. Juhlin's letter presents financial benefits of the proposal that are, I suggest, in error and mirror data presented by the project proponent, not the assessed findings of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). Also, his statement that the panel’s decision was not founded in sound science is refuted by the wealth of expert testimony presented at the hearing by multidisciplinary scientists.
I can’t imagine how anyone who followed the public hearing could, based on its revelations, question the integrity of the Joint Review Panel’s decision. More amazing to me is the fact that the proponent’s submission was deemed worthy of receiving the formal review.
And, lurking in the background, there’s this: The AER, based on its tumultuous media-reported history and its previous decisions, had fallen so far in its publicly assessed credibility that most reviewers expected the AER to approve the Grassy Mountain proposal despite the mountain of evidence revealing this submission’s failings.
I believe it’s likely the AER, very aware of its reputation, felt both a scientific and legal imperative to act on the wealth of evidence exposing the proponent’s inability to deliver its stated claims, and recognized the proposal’s obvious—mountain-consuming—impact on the headwaters landscape, its potential to needlessly and irreversibly degrade the Oldman Watershed’s ability to deliver, qualitatively and quantitatively, essential life-sustaining water to the people of southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
My hope: that Alberta and Canada, aware of the century and the world we live in, recognize and preserve the sustainable long-range economic and ecological worth of an intact Rocky Mountain landscape … and protect this world-acclaimed virtue from short-sighted industrial ruin.