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Environmental Groups Oppose Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project in Elk Valley

The B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) has announced it is opposed to the open-pit coal mine proposed by NWP Coal Canada Ltd. for the heart of Elk Valley.

“We support the efforts of Sparwood Fish & Wildlife Association (SFWA) President Matt Huryn to stop this project before it starts,” the association stated in a Feb. 13 media release.

The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) are currently reviewing the Crown Mountain Coking Coal project. BCWF President David Lewis expressed the BCWF’s concerns in a letter to Josie Osborne, Minister for Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

“The B.C. Wildlife Federation is vehemently opposed to the coking coal project propose by NWP Coal Canada Limited. The proposed Crown Mountain Coking Coal project is an open-pit metallurgical coal mine located in the Elk Valley, 12 kilometres northeast of Sparwood, British Columbia,” Lewis opened.

“The mine footprint is on and directly adjacent to habitat vital to bighorn sheep, mountain goat, grizzly bear, wolverine, lynx, elk, moose and mule deer. The loss of this habitat cannot be mitigated or replaced.

“The Elk Valley is already suffering from a water quality crisis, related to selenium contamination from industrial activity and this will assuredly make things worse. This proposal will fragment the landscape and disrupt habitat connectivity and established wildlife migration routes and corridors. The manmade infrastructure – including buildings, stockpiles, and an overland conveyor belt – will impede the natural movements of many species. The rail loop and load-out facility are proposed for a Class 1 elk winter range at Grave Prairie in the valley bottom.

“A project with a productive life of 15 years is not worth an eternity of negative environmental impacts.

“Wildlife populations in the Kootenays are under threat from all sides. British Columbia recently had the first two deer test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in the Kootenays. Populations are being heavily impacted by habitat degradation and fragmentation. In such a critical wildlife area, the last thing we need to do is destroy more habitat.

“We must show more respect for the needs of all the species in the Elk Valley that rely on this range for food, clean water, and safe shelter,” Lewis concluded in his letter.