The company behind a proposed open pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains has filed a request to appeal a review panel decision that rejected the project as not being in the public interest.

Benga Mining Limited filed the request on Friday with the Alberta Court of Appeals regarding its Grassy Mountain Coal Project.

In the court filing, Benga says a June 17 decision by a joint federal-provincial review panel, including the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), contains errors of law and procedural fairness that justify granting permission to appeal. .

In the June decision, the review panel said that the significant adverse environmental effects on western slope cutthroat trout and surface water quality likely to be caused by the mine outweigh the low to moderate positive economic impacts of the project.

Benga says the metallurgical coal mine in the Crowsnest Pass area of ​​southwestern Alberta would create hundreds of jobs and produce up to 4.5 million tons of coal per year over a useful life of about 23 years.

The appeal request will be heard on September 9.

Benga contends that the joint review panel (JRP) “erred in law by ignoring relevant Benga evidence, or misinterpreting that evidence, with respect to surface water quality, cutthroat trout, and hillside habitat. Western and Economics Project, “the appeal request reads.

“As a result, the JRP, as AER, incorrectly found that Benga’s evidence and plans were inadequately developed and the potential benefits were exaggerated.”

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Last month, the panel advised Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to reject the mine. It has also denied permit applications for the project under provincial law.

At the time, Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon and Energy Minister Sonya Savage said the panel’s findings demonstrated the rigor of the province’s regulatory system.

Katie Morrison of the Canadian Wildlife and Parks Society said Friday that she will be closely watching Benga’s appeal request.

The company wants to appeal the decision that rejected the proposed #Alberta open pit coal mine. #abpoli # Coal

“The joint review panel made a decision that they did not like and now they seem to try to find fault with that process rather than accept that they presented a project in an area of ​​high risk for environmental and social values,” he said. saying.

“They were never granted approval. They didn’t argue that they could adequately protect those values ​​that Albertans care about.”

The mine is the first in a series of proposed coal projects for the mountains and slopes of Alberta’s western boundary.

Exploration fever took off last year after the United Conservative government reversed a decades-long policy that protected the area against open-pit coal mines. It sparked public outrage from First Nations, municipalities and thousands of Albertans.

In response, the province restored the policy, halted the sale of new leases, and suspended permits for exploration work in the most sensitive landscapes.

This Canadian Press report was first published on July 16, 2021.

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