The Grassy Mountain coal mine is back on the plate of High River's mayor.

Provincial energy minister Brian Jean sent a letter to the Alberta Energy Regulator saying the project is not subject to a Ministerial Order that had stopped it, because it's an advanced project.

Craig Snodgrass says it can't be advanced because it doesn't exist.

"The latest problem that we have is how the Grassy Mountain application from Northback Holdings has been handled by the Alberta government. Everybody has to remember that the Ministerial Order that Sonya Savage put in play a couple of years ago is absolutely still in play," he says.

"I don't know how many times and in how many ways that Albertans have to tell our government that we do not want any new coal exploration or any new mines, nothing can be resurrected from the dead, that we do not want coal mining on our eastern slopes in Alberta, that has been the message loud and clear for years to our government."

He says the problem is there's a new Premier in Danielle Smith and a new energy minister in Brian Jean.

"Now Danielle has always been honest and forthright with me that coal mines on Category four lands are alright with her, and she didn't really agree that Grassy Mountain should have been declined by the AER, our very own energy regulator in this province said no to this mine years ago. Northback is trying to resurrect that application and the way they need to do that is have it deemed an Advanced Coal Project and this is where the big problem comes into play.

"An Advanced Coal Project is a project that actually exists. When Grassy Mountain was declined by the AER it ceased to exist any longer. It was done. It had gone through the proper processes, it had gone through all the proper hearings and at the end of the day the federal government and our own AER declined the project, saying it was not in the public interest."

Snodgrass says Northback has not sent in a new project summery which it would have to do as the first step in any attempt to resurrect it and they would have to show significant changes, and Snodgrass says there are none.

"What has happened is the minister of energy has simply sent a letter to the AER with his personal opinion of the Ministerial Order, which is highly problematic, as this is not how the AER should be taking direction, with the minister of energy's opinion of what an advanced coal project is. The way the minister needs to handle this is through another Ministerial Order, that's the only way he can guide the AER," Snodgrass says.

He says that Ministerial Order should then get cabinet approval before being sent to the AER.

Snodgrass says he can't understand the hypocrisy of the government.

"We've got Pincher Creek that's got a backhoe in the Crowsnest River trying to suck water out of it to provide for their community. We've got the government saying, 'hey we might have to scale back on oil and gas project water usage,' yet it's going to be okay for a coal mine?" he says.

"We're going to start approving new coal mine exploration and new coalmines, it's making zero sense, and we're going to protect our pristine landscapes from windmills and solar, but we're going to demolish that mountain that we're trying to see."

The mayor says he continues to watch every move that's being made because "it's as weird as it was before".