The Alberta government was forced by public pressure to reverse plans to expand coal mining in the Rockies.
Provincial Energy Minister Sonya Savage said Monday that the Conservative government is canceling 11 recently issued coal leases after the decision to suspend future sales of mining leases.
“This break will give our government an opportunity to ensure that the interests of Albertans, as owners of mineral resources, are protected,” Minister Savage said in a press release.
Public opposition to the Conservative government’s plan escalated with two petitions that garnered more than 100,000 signatures on Monday, Global News reported.
However, canceled leases represent a tiny fraction of the number of existing coal leases, environmentalists say.
According to the Canadian Nature and Parks Society, 840,000 hectares are still at risk and that the 11 canceled leases represent barely 1,800 hectares of the area already leased.
For its part, the NDP evokes a “small victory” and believes that the threat persists, since eight other leases are still in force.