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AWA believes that energy exploration and development must be regulated in a manner that is consistent with the maintenance of wilderness values.

AWA’s mandate throughout its four decades has been the protection of intact, representative ecosystems across Alberta. In areas where economic development is integrated within a working landscape, AWA supports robust management, regulation, and enforcement strategies.

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    We believe in a fundamental need for wilderness that is free of industrial incursion; a network of legislated protected areas is currently the only framework under which this can be ensured. Outside of such areas, exploration and development must be conducted in an environmentally responsible manner. Full-field life-cycle planning must be required for all new developments including phase-out, remediation, and reclamation. Adequate reclamation liability must be assessed on a per-project basis that accounts for all remediation and reclamation costs, and does not leave Albertans vulnerable to major financial risks.

    AWA believes Alberta’s wilderness and natural capital are non-renewable resources of immeasurable value, and must be considered as such and given priority in land-use planning.  An overarching land-use plan is desperately needed in Alberta to set targets for all sectors, determine thresholds and establish priorities for land use throughout the province. Conservation areas must be designated with legal protection.

    When considering land disturbance impacts, the cumulative footprint of all past, present and planned developments upon the landscape must be considered. Energy development does not take place in isolation: it occurs on a landscape also impacted by forestry, residential and recreational developments. The combined footprint of all of these activities must be considered in planning decisions.

    Collectively, we know that the economic value of the ecosystem services performed by natural ecosystems for humankind far exceeds that of industrial development.


    AWA has been involved with Shell Canada as they work to restore landscapes once active with drilling and extraction; Waterton 12 is one such site (shown above). (N. Douglas)

    Shell Waterton 12

    Seen in the photo are AWA and Shell Canada employees discussing the process and early results of reclamation efforts at this site that has reached its full life-cycle. (C. Olson)

    November 1, 1971

    Report: Environmental Impacts of Surface Coal Mining

    The Environment Conservation Authority in Edmonton wrote a report on the Environmental Impacts of Surface…

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    December 1, 1970

    1970 Article of Coal Research and Development in Canada by T.E. Tibbetts

    1970 marked the year of the largest percentage increase in a single year of the…

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    April 1, 1969

    Report of Coal Mining Damage in Alberta by the Alberta Land Preservation Society

    In 1969, the Alberta Land Trust Society released a report detailing the extensive damage done…

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We have spectacular wilderness in Alberta, much of it under some form of protection. Every square millimetre of it has had to be fought for - will always have to be fought for, forever and ever. The struggle to retain and repair wilderness is conducted not just by a few individuals, but by large numbers of committed people, from all walks of life, all working in various ways toward the same end. We need to be grateful to all of them.
- Dave Mayhood
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