CALGARY -- Alberta's Opposition NDP plans to introduce a private member's bill that would ban future coal mining and related activities on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

The proposed legislation comes as Alberta's United Conservative government is to hold public consultations at the end of this month on expanding coal mining in the area.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley says, if passed, the bill would also permanently cancel all coal leases on so-called Category 1 and 2 lands and stop planned changes to water allocations in the area.

Public consultations are scheduled to begin March 29, but so far no details have been released.

The UCP revoked last spring a 1976 policy that had protected the Rockies and their eastern slopes from open-pit coal mines.

It was reinstated last month after a public outcry.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2021