Thousands of gas wells sprawling across a vast landscape could have permanently scarred the Sacred Headwaters. In 2004, Shell drilled three exploratory wells in the Sacred Headwaters as part of a larger plan to frack for gas in this pristine region. The destructive process would have transformed the alpine basin into an industrial nightmare of gas wells and roads, destroying wildlife habitat and polluting streams.
Coalbed methane (CBM) is a gas trapped in coal deposits. Extracting it is environmentally risky and requires thousands wells and produces vast volumes of toxic wastewater. As a result, CBM development leaves an extensive footprint on the land.
Given the high risks to the environment and low level of job creation, CBM projects have been met with strong opposition in British Columbia (BC). A broad cross-section of the public is concerned about CBM, including municipalities, elected officials, First Nations, unions, conservation groups, guide outfitters, ranchers, and more.
Because of these reasons—and countless more—in December 2012, the government of BC permanently banned oil and gas development in the Sacred Headwaters. Sadly, proposed coal mining projects still threaten this fragile region. Today, we look to the BC government to safeguard the Sacred Headwaters and to protect from all industrial development. We believe that the Sacred Headwaters is too important ecologically and culturally to risk it all for purely economic gains.