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Environment minister restores federal assessment of Alberta coal mine

Wilkinson to stick with his initial ruling on Vista project near Hinton.
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Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson makes an announcement in Calgary, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has reinstated his decision to subject a thermal coal mine expansion in Alberta to a federal review.

Wilkinson said in July 2020 that the Vista project near Hinton would go before a joint federal-provincial environmental review.

But the Federal Court ordered that he review his decision, concluding it was made without consulting one of the First Nations that support the coal mine.  

Wilkinson announced earlier this week that he conducted that review and will stick with his initial ruling.

He said Ottawa's involvement is justified by the size of the planned expansion and its potential threats to areas of federal jurisdiction, such as waterways and species at risk.

Wilkinson also said the expansion would affect the treaty rights of other First Nations who oppose the project.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2021

The Canadian Press