Statement on open-pit coal mining in Alberta's Rockies - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Earth Day is every day. Y2Y is connecting and protecting nature for a healthier planet. You can help.

Statement on open-pit coal mining in Alberta’s Rockies

Photo credit: Adam Linnard

Opening coal mining undermines Alberta’s global treasure: the wild mountains  

More than 53,000 square kilometers of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and foothills are suddenly now available for open-pit coal mining following the government’s recent rescindment of a decades-old provincial coal mining policy. All this without public consultation. 

This decision is short-sighted and robs many people of places they love — places they like to play in and enjoy nature and wild spaces in.  

Although some highly sensitive lands remain protected, many new lands are now open to mining — those that contain headwaters that provide the province’s drinking water and habitat for important at-risk species such as westslope cutthroat trout and grizzly bears.  

A significant proportion of these areas now open to mining fall squarely within the Alberta portion of the greater Yellowstone-to-Yukon region.  

Parks and public recreation areas slated for privatization or closure within the Yellowstone-to-Yukon region

Comparing the 174 parks and public recreation areas the government proposed in March for removal from its parks system with the newly available coal mining lands, many fall within lands that can now be mined. 

In fact, of the 100 parks and public recreation areas slated for privatization or closure within the Yellowstone-to-Yukon region, 60 fall within areas now available for coal mining. 

People are an integral part of the region and Y2Y understands that many communities in the region depend on resource extraction for their livelihood. However, this decision is a misstep and runs counter to the very values and assets that make Alberta’s Rocky Mountains a global destination that contributes to local jobs and to our economy.   

Albertans treasure the towering peaks, clear-flowing rivers, and abundant wildlife of the Rockies’ Eastern Slopes including the amazing hiking, camping, climbing, hunting, fishing, and other nature-based recreation activities.

Opening the key lands in the Yellowstone to Yukon region to industrial development is not consistent with a government that says they want to support Albertans seeking fun, freedom and fresh air close to home, or their commitment to conservation of species at risk such as grizzly bears.