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Environmental hazard assessment of Benga Mining’s proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project

Lemly, A. Dennis
Environmental science & policy 2019 v.96 pp. 105-113
aquatic habitat, coal, economic impact, energy, environmental hazards, environmental performance, fish, hazard characterization, issues and policy, landscapes, mining, mountains, poisoning, pollution, risk, selenium, Alberta
The Grassy Mountain Coal Project is a planned mountaintop open-pit development by Benga Mining Limited that would destroy 2,800 ha of scenic Rocky Mountain landscape in southwest Alberta, Canada. A scientific analysis of environmental hazards of the project reveals numerous flaws in both the projected environmental performance of the mine and its regulatory control. From both environmental and economic perspectives, the proposed mine will do far more damage than can be reasonably justified on any level. In this report, I present science-backed facts that show 6 specific, and grave, points of environmental hazard. If approved and made operational, the Grassy Mountain Coal Project will create a serious environmental threat from selenium pollution of high quality, high value aquatic habitats and culminate in poisoning of provincially and federally protected fish, coupled with substantial negative economic impacts. Prudent, timely, and decisive action by the Alberta Energy Regulator can eliminate the selenium risk and protect the environment.