EDMONTON, A.B. – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is digging in when it comes to his government’s stance on coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

In an interview this morning on Edmonton’s CHED radio station, Kenney says an old policy that protected the Rockies for 45 years was obsolete and had been superseded by stronger rules.

Kenney says Albertans should trust their regulatory system to protect the environment and ensure adequate public consultation.

He says Albertans who live in cities should respect coal miners and their industry.

The United Conservative government’s decision to open up vast areas of the province that were previously off limits to open-pit mines is increasingly controversial.

At least eight communities, both small and large, that are downstream of the formerly protected lands oppose the change.

More than 100,000 signatures have also been collected in opposition.

An Alberta Court of Queen’s bench judge is currently deliberating a request for a judicial review of the decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2021.