I am an introvert.
Being assertive and speaking out is not my comfort zone. I'm content behind the scenes and hesitant to drive change. But push me hard enough and I will be loud.
The more I learn about the breadth of possible coal projects on Alberta's Eastern slopes the louder I feel like being and the more committed I am to pushing for the Lougheed 1976 Coal Policy to be reinstated.
If you follow local fly fishing social media accounts you've probably seen loads of information over the past couple weeks about this issue. Several folks involved in the Alberta angling industry have really delved into what this could mean if it moves forward. And we are alarmed. The geographic scope of the proposed projects is alarming. Ultimately the area affected encompasses much of the Eastern Slopes - from Blairmore to Grande Cache.
The risk to watersheds - and the people and existing industry downstream are alarming. So much so that some city and town councils are loudly proclaiming their disgust and distrust of the decision to rescind the Coal Policy.
Dave (Blair) is convinced this is the most serious environmental/fisheries issue he's seen in nearly 30 years in Alberta's angling industry. And he's (we've all) seen a few.
So what can we do?
On Friday, Outfly Fly Fishing Adventures requested that folks keep spreading the word about this issue.
Today, we are doing the same. We're asking each of you to reach out to family and friends who may not even be aware of this issue or who may have heard last Monday's announcement that the decision had been "reversed" and dropped their guard. Let them know that announcement impacted less than .05% of the proposed projects and this issue is far from over.
Write your MLA's, your MP's, your town council and let them know you aren't happy with the decision to rescind Lougheed's '76 Coal Policy.
Delve into the issue by visiting sites like CPAWS Southern Alberta, Alberta Chapter of Back Country Hunters and Anglers or Facebook groups like Protect Alberta's Rockies and Headwaters.
If fishing the Oldman, Livingston, Ram, or Blackstone River systems is important to you - be loud.
If you value protecting wildlife habitat for everything from grizzly bears and mountain sheep, to Westslope Cutthoat trout and Bull trout (two specials-at-risk) - be loud.
If you enjoy camping, hiking, cycling, OHV use, snowmobiling, skiing, bird-watching, wildlife viewing in the Eastern Slopes - be loud.
If you worry about selenium getting into waterways and polluting drinking water, irrigation systems, and manufacturing facilities be loud.
If you value sustainable tourism, hiking trails and Alberta’s iconic Eastern Slopes more than royalties from a couple decades of coal extraction be loud.
"Be loud about the things that are important to you...." (Karen Walrond - author & photographer.)