Coalbed Methane: Shell President Is “Out of Bounds” in BC's Sacred HeadwatersNew ads at Lorraine Mitchelmore’s favorite ski hill are reminders that Sacred Headwaters are out of bounds.
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Shell Canada President, Lorraine Mitchelmore, is “out of bounds” in her company’s pursuit of coalbed methane development in BC’s Sacred Headwaters, according to new ski hill ads placed by conservation groups ForestEthics and the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition.
The Sacred Headwaters, in Northwest British Columbia, are the birthplace of several First Nations creation stories and three of North America’s most important wild salmon rivers. They are home to grizzly bears, caribou and moose. Shell currently has plans to drill thousands of coalbed methane wells in the area.
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“Lorraine Mitchelmore can work for the weekend and head for the ski hill, without thinking about the dire consequences her company’s actions would have in the Sacred Headwaters, but First Nations and residents of Northwest B.C. would have to live with irreversible impacts forever”, says Karen Tam Wu, Senior Conservation Campaigner with Forest Ethics. “We want to keep this issue top of mind for her, all of the time.”
The ads, which feature breathtaking photos of the Sacred Headwaters with glaring “Out of Bounds” signs, criticize Shell’s plans to drill thousands of wells and build thousands of kilometres of roads. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking - a controversial practice linked to water pollution, methane leaks, and extreme water usage – would be used to extract the gas.
“All downstream communities have rejected Shell’s proposal to frack in the Sacred Headwaters, “ says Shannon McPhail, Executive Director of Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. “Wild salmon and wildlife like moose, which thrive in this area, are the lifeblood of our communities’ cultures, livelihoods, and traditions. The ads are a reminder to Mitchelmore that the Sacred Headwaters are off limits.”
The Sacred Headwaters. the shared source of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers, is located in a remote region of northwest British Columbia, about 600 kilometres north of Terrace, B.C. In 2008, the B.C. Government imposed a four-year ban on Shell’s activities. The Sacred Headwaters has been listed on the Outdoor Recreation Council’s Most Endangered Rivers List the past two years.