A lengthy new report commissioned by landowners near proposed Alberta coal mines concludes mines would create environmental liabilities that exceed their economic benefits.
Written by respected Alberta environmental consultants, the report says mines would pose a serious threat to both the quality and quantity of downstream water.
It says current methods to remove toxins such as selenium are unproven over long times and large areas.
The report suggests new mines would increase stress on water supplies, especially as southern Alberta grows and climate change alters rain and snow patterns.
It estimates new mines will only be one-quarter reclaimed within 50 years — and those sites aren’t likely to return to what they once were.
The report concludes the government has failed to consider the cascade of environmental effects that coal mining would create, especially in combination with forestry and energy development.
The report, requested by the Livingstone Landowners Group, has been filed with the government’s coal consultation committee.