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Sacred Headwaters Campaign

UPDATE: In December 2012, after almost a decade of blockades, national and international pressure, and intense negotiations the Tahltan Nation pushed Shell out. With Shell out a permanent ban on fracking and natural gas extraction was secured. Then in May 2015, the provincial government announced that it would suspend Fortune Minerals' mining project for ten years, buy their mining licenses, and begin the work needed to secure permanent protection for the Sacred Headwaters.

Shell’s risky experiment

In 2004, the BC government granted Shell tenure to some 400,000 hectares of the Sacred Headwaters for the purpose of developing coalbed methane gas. The extensive Klappan Coalfield that underlies the Headwaters area could contain as much as eight trillion cubic feet of gas.

An unproven industry

Coalbed methane has never been developed in a wild salmon watershed, much less at the source of three such watersheds. Nor has ever been developed in an alpine environment. What we do know about coalbed methane is that its extraction requires a dense network of wells, roads and pipelines, and that often vast volumes of wastewater much be pumped from underground and disposed of.

Impacts on salmon and wildlife

In 2007, the Pembina Institute commissioned a study on the potential impacts of Shell’s project on the area’s wild salmon habitat. They found that the impacts — from both increased erosion and depletion of groundwater aquifers — would likely be significant.