Shell backs down again in Sacred Headwaters

Iskut First Nations, Elders and Tl’abanot’tin Clan Reject Trip to Wyoming:

ThreeTahltan groups issued the following news release. It signals Shell’scoaalbed methane plans for the Sacred Headwaters are in trouble

ShellCanada’s plans to drill for coalbed methane development in theKla-bon-a-tine Sacred Headwaters/Mount Klappan area hit anotherroadblock last week. In a display of growing Tahltan unity inopposition to Shell’s plans for developing coalbed methane, the IskutFirst Nations, Tahltan Elders and Tl’abanot’tin Clan each rejectedShell’s offer of a free trip to Wyoming.

Shell was given letters that the three groups felt it would be inappropriatefor us to engage directly with you until you have indicated whetherShell intends to deal with us and our Elders honourably.

Itold Shell that no coalbed methane exploration and drilling will takeplace without the consent of our Elders and families, says OscarDennis, Spokesperson for the Tl’abanot’tin Shell and the Crown made amajor mistake by agreeing to rights in our territory without engagingwith us, further testing our resolve by trying to divide and conquer uswill only backfire.

The three letters informed Shell thatvarious Tahltan groups would not engage in further discussions untilcertain information was provided and their shared concerns wereaddressed. To date Shell has failed to respond in writing to requestsfor information on:

– whether it would respect Tahltan Elders Moratorium (Dena nenn Sogga nehine)imposed on February 25, 2005, which prohibited any further resourcedevelopment until certain conditions about governance, sustainability,shared decision-making, and revenue sharing were dealt with; and

– maps, assessments, plans and studies about its plans and potential impacts on fish, wildlife, water and Tahltan culture.

TheTahltan Elders have been very clear. No further resource development isallowed, including Shell’s coalbed methane plans for the SacredHeadwaters, until the conditions in our moratorium are addressed, saidLillian Moyer, spokesperson for the Elders. Shell can’t buy ourapproval.

Shell was given notice that its offer of trips toWyoming was being rejected by a number of people at a symbolic blockadeat the turnoff to the Klappan. Shell’s representative Russ Marshallconfirmed that Shell would not be sending crews into the Klappan in thenear future.

Shell decision to withdraw came less than 36 hoursafter over 40 Elders, councillors, hereditary leaders and communitymembers voiced their concerns about coalbed methane at a communitymeeting in Iskut.

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