Along with the coal companies, about 3,000 miners as well as rural communities such as Hanna, Forestburg, Battle River, Wainwright, Wabamun and Keephills would be affected by the plant shutdowns, he warned. "There is a lot of uncertainty out there and people are definitely concerned about their livelihoods and their families and their homes," said Campbell, a former Alberta Progressive Conservative finance and environment minister. Before he got into politics Campbell worked for the United Mine Workers of America union. Alberta's climate change strategy includes introducing a broad-based carbon tax that would apply across the economy and phasing out coal-fired power generation. These plants produce more than half of Alberta's power. But environmental experts note that they also produce about one-third of all the sulphur dioxide released in the province.
"We think the government should be investing in new technology and research to do a better job of reducing emissions."
Campbell said the industry is willing to do its part. But he said it doesn't make sense for the government to turn its back on a power source that helps provide an affordable, stable electricity supply to the province. He pointed to Ontario, where electricity prices spiked after the government moved to retire coal generation. The NDP government has said it has appointed a negotiator to help broker the orderly phase out of the plants that will be fair to the workers, the communities and the companies. Details of the plan have not been released. Campbell said everyone that is to be affected by the phase out plan is eager for more information. "People are concerned about this. They haven't seen a plan."
"People are definitely concerned about their livelihoods and their families."
Also on HuffPost: