When Alberta country singer Corb Lund wrote a song 12 years ago about a rancher determined to defend the landscape he loves from encroaching development, it was just a campfire thread.
“It was just kind of a story, a fictional story,” Lund said.
Events have since caught up with the tune “This Is My Prairie”. The peaks and foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains have been leased over a large swath of their range for coal exploration and a series of companies have announced plans for surface mining.
The defender Lund imagined was suddenly very real.
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“This coal thing happened and I watched (the song) and it was just word for word,” Lund said from his home in Lethbridge, downriver from the proposed mines.
“It occurred to me that this might make for a good reissue, and then it occurred to me that maybe we should recruit a few more people. I called some people who had supported me on Twitter and they all agreed.
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Lund, along with a group of buddies, re-recorded and re-released the song as what Lund hopes will become an anthem against mining development in the Rockies.
Country stars Terri Clark, Brett Kissel and Paul Brandt joined the event. Cree-Dene singer Sherryl Sewepagaham also sings a verse in Cree.
“They can drill, they can mine, on my smoking bones,” the song begins. “This is my Meadow, this is my home.”
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Lund has been outspoken in his opposition to landmines, speaking out on social media and in interviews. Besides the impact of mining on the beauty of the region, he worries about its effect on the water supply and contamination in a region that is still dry.
“It is important that we emphasize that this is a non-political issue. It’s a matter of water. Rural people are upset, First Nations people are upset, urban dwellers are upset. It’s very wide. »
Lund, who promised that all proceeds from the re-release would be donated to grassroots groups opposed to the mines, said while public controversy over the developments may have died down, the fight is not over.
“It’s hard to keep the audience engaged. There hasn’t been a lot in the news. One of the main things about releasing this now is that we need to remind people that this is far from over.
Alberta musician Corb Lund on proposed coal mines in the Rockies: ‘I 100% oppose these policy changes’
Province awaits report from expert panel who have spent the past few months hearing from Albertans how _ or whether _ coal mines should be allowed near the sources of most of the province’s drinking water . This group is expected to submit its report to Energy Minister Sonya Savage on November 15.
The head of that panel, Ron Wallace, said this week that most of the submissions are “strongly opposed” to mining.
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No one will be more eager to see the panel’s recommendations than the musicians of “This Is My Prairie.”
“We’re going to insist that we see them,” Lund said. “If the government thinks it can take these recommendations and put them on the shelf, we’re going to bicker about it.”
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