Angling Business Against Coal Development

Reference Number

For the past 24 years my wife and I have developed a successful Fly Fishing business here in Calgary, AB. We employ, on a full and part time basis, a dozen people throughout the season, which increases when we are operating the fishing guiding area of our business. The most important ingrediant for the sustainable future of our business is for the headwaters of Alberta's Eastern Slopes, from the Edson/Hinton area all the way to the US border, to have reliable clean fresh water and suitable habitat for wild trout populations to survive. We are completly reliant on fresh clean water in ecosystems that can produce trout. The proposed coal mining activity of the Benga Mine and the many many others that are now in the exploration stages directly threaten those watersheds. The recently rescinded 1976 Coal policy was all about watershed protection. It was a forward thinking long term policy strategy that has paid off for our Eastern Slopes envirnoment. The removal of that policy and the proposed developements that Benga and others have initated have serious long term consequences to our watersheds.

The unknown's of the future of our water with on going changes to our environment should be enough by itself to put the Grassy Lake Project on the list of "not appropriate" for the health of our headwater ecosystems. Are we as Albertan's really willing to gamble one of our most (if not THE most) precious renewable natural resources, fresh clean water, that we have, for short term "possible" ecomonic gains of an environmentally destructive NON renewable mine(s). There are far too many unknown (Future Coal price, Coal demand, water availabilty, temperature changes that increase evaporation, etc, etc.) gambles to make an ecosystem altering decision. Should we not be erring on the side of caution when it comes to water management decisions that affect future generations of Albertans? 

I have spent some time reading other's comments and I think that Dr. Chris Hopkinson (U of L Research Chair Geography & Evironment) has sumarized the water concerns far better than I could:

Submitted Jan 7th 2021

"My main concern, however, is that this change in policy has been expedited purely to address the needs of industy and to facilitate mining operations without undertaking the necessary science-based analysis to conscientiously evaluate whether such a shift in allocation is feasible over the next quater of a century. It is my expert opinion that on water quantity allocation grounds alone, the move to increased industrial use in the eastern Slopes is a bad move that will have damaging impacts on downstream ecosystems and all those who depend on water..."

I respectfully ask that the Grassy Mountain Coal Project be rejected for future watershed protection and that the current exploration happening in other areas of the Oldman and watersheds further north be immediately halted.


David Blair (Fish Tales Fly Shop Calgary, AB)

B.Sc. (Wildlife Biology)

Submitted by
David Blair
Public Notice
Comment Tags
Fish and Fish Habitat Species at Risk Wildlife / Habitat Fishing Drinking Water
Date Submitted
2021-01-08 - 5:18 PM
Date modified: