Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Suspend Shell Canada's drilling in the Klappan: UBCM

The UBCM has asked the province to immediately suspend Shell Canada’s coalbed methane exploration project in the remote Klappan Valley, near the Tahltan village of Iskut, B.C.

The municipal association’s request, which was buried in a block of 57 resolutions passed without debate on Thursday morning, comes just weeks after Shell voluntarily delayed drilling in the Klappan for a season.

The UBCM is asking the province to conduct “comprehensive consultations with all residents of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine watersheds and estuaries” and “not proceed with coalbed methane development in the Klappan-Groundhog area until there is compelling evidence of environmental safety, such that the majority of residents in the region are satisfied that such development does not jeopardize their values and existing economic activities.”

The province granted Shell Canada rights to explore for natural gas found in coal seams in 2004. Shell drilled three exploratory wells that year, but the program has faced mounting opposition from local First Nations and regional environmental groups ever since.

The Klappan region is claimed as traditional territory by the Tahltan First Nation, and has been dubbed the Sacred Headwaters because it is the source of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers.

Shell Canada is the Canadian subsidiary of Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Shell Canada is also developing some much-larger natural gas projects in northeastern B.C.

Also among the 57 resolutions passed a block on Thursday morning were requests to spend more money on northern schools, to electrify the Highway 37 corridor, to stop selling recreational lots on reservoir lakes, to reduce unnecessary product packaging, to take a harder look at the cumulative impacts of private power projects, and to label genetically modified food.

The northern schools resolution asserts that the current provincial school funding formulas do not treat northern school districts fairly, and that this inadequate funding has led to cutbacks in services in northern school districts. In that resolution, the UBCM asks the province “to ensure northern public school children receive public education equivalent to students in other parts of the province.”

A motion from the floor asking the convention to reconsider B.C.’s participation in TILMA failed, but the UBCM executive said it would be looking closely at plans to implement the controversial trade agreement.

The UBCM is pushing to consider more than 200 such resolutions today, and will hear addresses by B.C. NDP leader Carole James and B.C. Green Party leader Jane Sterk.

Monte Paulsen is editor of The Hook.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus