BC gov’t contradicted by leaked internal report

The BC government already has a credibility problem with BC’s First Nations and communities. Now they’re putting BC’s credibility rating at risk in the USA.

A sizable delegation of officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mines were in Helena recently, attempting to allay concerns in Montana about coalbed methane plans in the upper Flathead River watershed.

Whatever credibility they arrived with, evaporated a few days later when a leaked consultant’s report directly contradicted statements made in Helena that BC has already accumulated water quality data. Far from it, as it turns out.

(By the way, we’ve noticed that MEM delegations are always sizable. Why is that? Are they saving the people of BC money with volume discounts? Are they racking up frequent flier points? Are they afraid to go out alone?)

Last week in Helena, Montana, BC officials told senior Montana state officials, including representatives of Montana Governor Martz, that substantial historical water quality data had been gathered for the streams north of Glacier National Park into which coalbed methane wastewater may be discharged.

These claims were an attempt to forestall demands for the completion of baseline studies assessing water quality in the Flathead before drilling permits were issued.

However, BC’s claims were quickly contradicted by a leaked environmental consultant’s analysis-prepared for the Energy Ministry-that indicates existing water quality data is inadequate. The consulatant recommends that three years of data collection is necessary before coalbed methane development should be allowed to proceed.

By initiating the process to auction drilling rights, BC rejected the Montana Governor’s request that coalbed methane extraction in the transboundary Rocky Mountain region be suspended until there has been a thorough assessment of the impact it may have on their shared environment.

Montana officials are concerned about the fragile populations of elk, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goats, grizzly bears, wolves, cougars and lynx, which use protected areas on both sides of the border as a single habitat for migration and reproduction.

They are also concerned about BC’s failure to address the impact methane well flaring will have on transboundary air quality and forest health.

For more information:

Ted Ralfe Citizens Concerned about Coalbed Methane, Fernie, British Columbia 250.423. 6844 tedlaw@elkvalley.net or

Steve Thompson National Parks Conservation Association, Whitefish, Montana 406.862.6722 or 406.250.9810 sthompson@npca.org

DI20.jpgSee also these Bulletins and News Items:

Flathead & Crowsnest drilling rights posted 2004Jul09

Flathead Coalition applauds no mines, coalbed methane still a concern 2004May28

Fernie calls for IJC assessment, and includes Elk River 2004May10

CBM nothing new in Elk Valley 2004Jul07

Flathead leaders say energy plan needs study 2004Jun17

Martz weighs in on Canadian coal mines 2004May21

Martz urges caution in considering Canadian mine 2004May14

Flathead Coalition regroups to fight mine 2004May12

U.S. officials vow to fight B.C. mining plans 2004May10

and many more.

Visit our archives of Energy Bulletins and Energy News Stories.

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