It is with some skepticism that I read about Shell Canada’s purported alliance with environmentalists over concerns about the Crown’s oversight ofthe future of a 1,000-square-kilometre piece of backcountry known as the Castle Carbondale region.
Apparently Shell has joined CPAWS and the World Wildlife Fund in support of a new scientific study that is critical of the government. The report criticizes the Alberta governmentfor “environmental degradation, lack of government enforcement and lack of an overall land management plan to limit conflicts in the region.”
Unfortunately, Shell is not concerned about these same issues in another important ecological and cultural area, the Klappan Sacred Headwaters. Despite the objections of Tahltan Elders and others affected by their proposal, Shell continues to pressure to begin exploratory drilling for coalbed methane in an area that provides the first trickles of four glorious salmon systems-the Spatsizi Klappan, Nass, and Skeena
Although Shell refused to put their various scenarios in writing, their representatives indicated in a public meeting in Smithers commercial operations could result in 500 to 6,000 wells in the area. Currently concerned Tahltan are blockading to ensure that no further drilling begins.
The report that Shell is so eager to use to green wash itself in the Castle controversy concludes “that human activity — roads, industry and recreational activities, including a ski resort — has contributed to the loss of “nationally significant wildland” and threatens the habitat for fish, frogs, toads, wolves, wolverines and grizzly bears“.
Change the verb “has” to “could” and the same conclusion could be drawn in the Scared Headwaters.
Hopefully, Shell has learned its lesson and will take a different approach as events unfold. I doubt it, and neither the local Tahltan nor Dogwood Initiative is counting on it, but we always like a nice surprise.
In the meantime we will continue to prepare strategies to encourage Shell to do the right thing.