The Globe and Mail’s Mike LeBlanc asked readers what their biggest coal mine in Alberta was.
Here’s the results: 1.
King Coal: 5.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Chesapeake Energy: 2.6 million tonnes.
Calfornia Resources: 1 million tonnes 4.
American Electric Power: 1,600 tonnes.
Peabody Energy: 900 tonnes.
Southern Ontario Power: 730 tonnes.
TransCanada Energy: 745 tonnes.
Suncor Energy: 565 tonnes.
Energy Canada: 535 tonnes.
Canada’s largest coal mine, the Peaberry-owned Peabury Coal Mine in the heart of the Alberta oilpatch, emits just 0.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
That’s about 10 times less than a conventional coal plant.
“There’s a lot of potential here to reduce emissions.
There’s a very, very high probability that if we could move the coal industry out of Alberta, the province’s going to be cleaner, which is a very good thing,” said Scott Bair, the director of environmental advocacy at Greenpeace Canada.
The company has said it has plans to build the second phase of the mine, which would bring the mine’s emissions down to about 1 million tons a year, and that the project would not harm nearby communities.
However, that’s only if the project is completed.
The Alberta government’s energy portfolio is designed to help power the province, and coal is the province-owned source of electricity.
“As long as coal is still here, we have to do what’s best for the environment and the economy.
So that’s why we’re trying to get as much coal out of the ground as possible,” Energy Minister Brad Duguid said.
But many are concerned about the potential impact on the environment, particularly if the coal is extracted at the expense of the environment’s drinking water, which supplies most of Alberta.
“The idea of moving the coal to another part of the province would be detrimental to the environment,” said Mary Ann Wilson, a former chair of the Sierra Club Alberta.
“It’s also going to make it difficult to get any new investment into the province because the existing coal mines are just being used up.
We’re not getting any new mining, so we need a lot more.”
“We’ve got to keep the lights on,” she said.
“We can’t just have one coal mine going to waste and one going to clean up the environment.”
There are concerns that the coal mine would take up more than 1.4 square kilometres of land in the province.
And although there is a moratorium on new coal mines, there’s still the question of whether the province can actually make any new projects, because the province doesn’t have the authority to do that.
Alberta Environment and Climate Change Chair Doug Curran said the province is “working with communities across Alberta” to find ways to mitigate the impacts of the project.
“I think the biggest challenge right now is that we’ve got a lot going on in the environment right now, but we’re still not sure how to balance the needs of our communities and the need for the coal resources in the region,” Curran told The Canadian Press.
Environmental groups say the coal mining is an important part of Alberta’s economy, and will likely be the biggest source of jobs in the future.
Bair, of Greenpeace, said there are still a lot left to do.
“For us, it’s really about what the public wants,” he said.