Alberta Beyond Coal: What to Expect in 2022

Despite the reinstatement of Alberta’s 1976 Coal Policy in 2021, eight coal mining projects continued to move ahead with exploration. Coal development was not only still an option in Alberta, it was still happening.

Protect our Water - Alberta Beyond Coal was started to fight well-resourced coal companies and their billionaire owners. Through education, outreach and a strategic lawn sign campaign, the Alberta Environmental Network organized a collaborative effort to pause coal development in Alberta. 

Here is a look back to the origins of Alberta Beyond Coal and what to watch for in 2022.

Timeline of Coal in Alberta

In 1976, Premier Lougheed's government instituted a Coal Policy after extensive public consultation. It laid out "categories" of land in Alberta, on which varying degrees of coal development would be allowed.

When this Coal Policy was rescinded on June 1, 2020, Albertans began speaking out to protect water, land and the health of communities against the threats of coal development. 

Explore the full timeline of coal in Alberta

Alberta Beyond Coal

Alberta Beyond Coal was launched in March 2021 by the Alberta Environmental Network in partnership with the Council of Canadians Prairies & NWT Region. The goal was to join the tens of thousands of Albertans voicing strong opposition to the serious threat of destructive activity and contamination caused by open-pit coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

In 2021, Alberta Beyond Coal accomplished:

  • 3,800 lawn signs delivered in over 70 cities, towns and communities
  • 650 volunteers
  • 100,000+ information sheets delivered

You can continue to get involved at

Changes in 2021

Public pressure – from individuals to organized groups – continued to advocate for the long-term protection of the land, water and environment from coal development. The Coal Policy was reinstated in February 2021, marking the first of a number of achievements during the year. 

On June 17, a joint federal-provincial review panel denied the operating company’s application, saying its impacts on water, the environment, and Indigenous rights far outweigh any potential economic benefits. The panel denied the project’s permit applications under provincial laws. Without that approval, the project cannot proceed.

On June 28, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson designated the Tent Mountain project for a federal environmental assessment.

Next Steps in 2022

People from across Alberta continue to stand up against plans for more coal development. There are legal actions on multiple fronts, and people are keenly watching for the release of two critical reports: the independent coal policy committee submitted two reports at the end of 2021. The engagement report and a final report with recommendations are both expected to be released to the public in early 2022.