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Editorial: Coal decision proves it's possible to create change

opinion editorial stock

Many Albertans are breathing a sigh of relief after an announcement the Province will be reinstating its coal policy.

The 1976 coal policy had been revoked in June after the government determined it was redundant due to regulatory processes and procedures in place for the industry.

That didn't sit right with thousands of Albertans, including those in the Foothills, who took a stand and protested the rescission of the policy. The outcry included concerns over environmental impact on wildlife and watershed, as well as the lack of consultation with the public prior to removing the policy.

Calls from and letters penned by municipalities, interest groups and individuals across the province spoke volumes to the government and it announced Feb. 8 the 1976 coal policy would be reinstated.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage went so far as to say the Alberta government was owning its mistake and fixing it. She assured citizens the government will hold extensive public consultation as it develops a new, modern coal policy.

Foothills-area councillors, while remaining cautious, have said it's the right move given the push-back from the public.

They're right -  the Province found itself backed into a corner with citizens and municipalities joining together as one voice to say, "Stop."

It was enough to force re-evaulation and, ultimately, retraction on a move that never should have been made without first going to the people who would be affected.

For the public, it's some indication the government is listening and willing to admit to its mistakes.

It's also proof that when people work together for a just cause, their words and actions bear real weight and it's possible to incite change.

Over the course of four weeks, the people of Alberta came together and moved mountains for the sake of saving them.