Based on the Government's own authority, the Alberta Energy Regulator cannot approve a new coal exploration permit for Grassy Mountain.

Sections 3, 5 and 6 of Ministerial Order 002/2022 - issued in March of 2022 - directs the Alberta Energy Regulator to suspend approvals, and to not accept new applications, for coal exploration and development on Category 3 and 4 lands (Grassy Mountain is on Category 4 lands), except those that are related to an advanced coal project or an active approval for a coal mine.

Northback can only have an advanced project if there is a "project for which the proponent has submitted a project summary to the AER for the purposes of determining whether an environmental impact assessment is required."

Benga had such a project. Benga had applications under the Coal Conservation Act for a mine permit and mine license and for an approval to construct and operate a new coal-processing plant. However, the Joint Review Panel report stated that: "Exercising our authority as the AER, we deny Benga's applications... under the Coal Conservation Act." With that decision Benga no longer had an active application, and therefore no longer had an advanced coal project; and, therefore, Northback as its successor cannot claim to have an advanced coal project.

Likewise, Northback can only have an active approval if it has a license under the Coal Conservation Act. Benga's application for such a license was denied. Neither Benga nor Northback have a license and therefore neither can be said to have an active approval.

So, if Grassy Mountain can no longer be considered an "advanced coal project," nor to have an "active approval for a coal mine," it therefore no longer qualifies as an exemption under Ministerial Order 002/2022 and the AER cannot accept a new application for coal exploration.

Take action TODAY.

Send your letter to the Minister of Energy and Minerals and demand he direct the Alberta Energy Regulator deny Northback Holdings Northback Holdings Application 1948547 for a Deep Drilling Permit at Grassy Mountain.