Peter Voser, Royal Dutch Shell CEO of the world’s second most profitable corporation, is eager to “pilot” fast-tracked rules for development approval to build Canada’s largest liquefied natural gas plant off the Pacific north coast to capture a narrow window of opportunity. Shell is looking to take advantage of Canada’s revamped environmental and fisheries laws. Yet Shell isn’t new to controversy around gas projects in northwest British Columbia.
Shell has forgotten that staff were met with blockades and protests when the company tried to conduct exploratory drilling for coalbed methane in the Sacred Headwaters in 2005. This led to a moratorium on Shell to stop drilling for gas at the headwaters of three major salmon rivers (Skeena, Stikine and Nass), and residents want to get them out permanently.
If Shell hopes to have any social license to develop its liquefied natural gas plant in northwest BC, the company needs to clean up its tarnished reputation from the controversy over the Sacred Headwaters and permanently withdraw its plans to drill for gas there.
Shell’s proposed gas would be loaded onto around 200 tankers bound for Asia. These tankers would travel the same treacherous route that is proposed for tankers carrying crude and condensate from the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project.
Karen Tam Wu is the Senior Conservation Campaigner at ForestEthics Advocacy and can be reached at 778.846.5647.