The Government of Alberta will reinstate its 1976 coal policy after concerns were raised regarding surface mining in the Eastern Slopes.

The province had revoked the policy in 2020.

"Albertans have spoken loud and clear and we have heard them," said Energy Minister Sonya Savage in a statement. "Not only will we reinstate the full 1976 coal policy, we will implement further protections and consult with Albertans on a new, modern coal policy. Alberta’s government is absolutely committed to protecting the majestic Eastern Slopes and the surrounding natural environment."

According to Savage, a directive has been issued to the Alberta Energy Regulator to ensure mountaintop removal is no longer permitted and restrictions under the coal categories, including restrictions on surface mining in Category 2 lands, are applied.

AB Coal Policy re-instated - no surface mining of coal in former Cat 2 lands in foothills. Reversal just announced by Energy Minister Sonya Savage. #abpoli #ABCoal #CoalFreeAB

— Bill Macfarlane (@CTVBMacfarlane) February 8, 2021

New exploration already approved can continue - Gov’t says that’s 6 projects total. 4 were approved before recision of 1976 policy. 2 approved after. Total of nearly 70kms of new roads have been cut in foothills since summer 2020. #abpoli #ABCoal #CoalFreeAB

— Bill Macfarlane (@CTVBMacfarlane) February 8, 2021

This is a developing story. It will be updated throughout the morning.