High River's Mayor is thrilled with the recommendation of the Joint Federal-Provincial Panel review to deny the Grassy Mountain coal mine project application.

Craig Snodgrass has been a vocal opponent of proposed coal mines on the Eastern Slopes from the beginning.

"It's extremely good news and the reason is the way the report is written by the joint panel. They pretty much tear Benga's application to shreds and they've exposed what I've always been calling snake oil, the snake oil that these guys have been selling, this panel exposes it all, on a much more detailed level, but it's nice to see this joint panel has seen the reality of what these companies are trying to do and what the lasting effects of these projects could be."

The chance that the federal minister would go against a review written as sternly as this one is almost nil according to Snodgrass.

The review panel is recommending the Federal Environment Minister Jonathon Wilkinson deny approval of the Grassy Mountain coal project:

They say the project is not in the public interest and the economic benefits aren't worth the potential damaging effects.

"This report, this is why I say it's such a big win," Snodgrass says, "This report exposes all of it, and the joint review panel is saying we're not putting up with it, your proposal, your economic estimates are out to lunch, there's just zero trust in these projects and zero trust in these companies that they are going to accomplish anything environmentally, mitigation, reclamation, the economy, jobs, they've completely failed, the project's done."

The report says the mine would cause damage to water quality and native trout species as well as it could interfere with the area's First Nations to exercise their Treaty Rights.

Minister Wilkinson said earlier in the week any project that could cause contamination from chemicals like selenium has to go through a federal review.

"Now that brings into play every single project, thermal, metallurgical, all of them and it also brings in Tent Mountain because previous to that Tent Mountain was able to circumnavigate the federal review process because their estimates on mining tonnage that they were going to do was underneath the threshold that would trigger a federal review so because that mine, regardless of the tonnage, because that mine has the possibility of selenium contamination it's automatically under federal review so nobody's getting away from this now," the Mayor says.

He's glad there's a good regulatory process in place.


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