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The Migration: Desecrating the Crown (of the Continent)

Open-Pit coal mining in the headwaters of Alberta's best trout streams.

The Migration: Desecrating the Crown (of the Continent)

Alberta's 1976 Coal Policy protected the sensitive headwater areas of the province's best trout streams from open-pit coal mining. But in a secretive, unilateral move in 2020, the Progressive Conservative government rescinded the Coal Policy and sold new leases to foreign corporations. (Jim & Lynda McLennan photo)

It’s a topic that carries its own sense of tradition and thrives in folklore, especially through song: “It’s dark as a dungeon, way down in the mine;” “You load sixteen tons and what do you get?” and perhaps most poignantly, from John Prine: “And daddy, won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the green river where paradise lay? Well, I’m sorry my son, you’re too late in asking. Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.”

The expansion of surface coal mining in Alberta is Canada’s Pebble Mine issue. It’s a fly-fishing issue to be sure, but it’s much more than that. It’s...

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