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Shell warned: “Don’t drill in sacred waters”

15.jpgA group of eco-campaigners has asked oil giant Shell to avoid drilling for coal bed methane in “Sacred Canadian Waters”.

An advert, placed in the Financial Times by the Dogwood Initiative, EARTHWORKS, ForestEthics, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and Sierra Club of Canada, warned coalbed methane exploration threatens communities and the environment.

The group says:

Following continued efforts by Royal Dutch Shell to push its plans to explore for coal bed methane in British Columbia’s Sacred Headwaters, a growing international coalition published an ad in the Financial Times calling upon the world’s second largest corporation to abandon the risky project. The coalition is part of a diverse and growing opposition to Shell’s attempt to develop one of the largest, intact predator-prey ecosystems in North America.

“Coalbed methane is a risky industry that has left serious damage nearly everywhere it has been tried in North America,” said Bruce Baizel, staff attorney at EARTHWORKS’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project. “In British Columbia, coalbed methane is poorly regulated by an industry funded commission. There is no assurance that damage seen elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada would not occur here too.”

Protecting the Sacred Headwaters is necessary because of the area’s cultural and environmental significance. These three great salmon watersheds contribute more than $110 million to the local economy, and provide important habitat for BC’s largest population of woodland caribou.

The Klabona Keepers, Tahltan elders and families who occupy and use the area, have declared these traditional territories to be a Tribal Heritage Area. The Klabona Keepers Society has “asked the Province of British Columbia and [Royal Dutch Shell] not to proceed with development in this area” until a land stewardship plan can be developed, wrote Rhoda Quock, Spokesperson for the Klaboan Keepers Society.

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