The Kenney government has fined an Alberta hunter $600 for making an anti-coal video, but the young man says he’s laughing.
Last October, Levi Williams-Whitney went for a gambol up Grassy Mountain just north of the town of Blairmore in Alberta’s historic Crowsnest Pass.
Much of the mountain is now owned by Benga Mining (Riversdale Resources), a firm purchased by Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart in 2019 for $700 million.
With the Kenney government’s blessings, Rinehart, an iron-ore magnate and Australia’s wealthiest woman, has proposed to reduce what is now the habitat of mountain sheep, trout and elk into a giant open-pit coal mine. (The mountain top removal project is under a joint federal-provincial review.)
Another bunch of Australian developers want to remove more than half a dozen other nearby mountains from the Rockies to also supply Asian steel markets. They, too, have the government’s enthusiastic support.
Williams-Whitney, an avid hunter and environmental student at the University of Lethbridge, wasn’t impressed with Rinehart’s plans, let alone the Alberta government’s red-carpet treatment for Australian coal miners.
“The video was my way to express some of my frustration and refine my thinking about the issues,” said Williams-Whitney who has hunted for elk in the eastern slopes for years.
So he drove an hour-and-a-half from his home in Lethbridge to the Crowsnest Pass, where underground coal mines, French coal barons and communist unions once dominated the region’s turbulent history some 100 years ago.
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