NDP calls for extension of moratorium on coalbed methane in the Sacred Headwaters

December 7, 2012 | News Releases

VICTORIA — The moratorium on coalbed methane extraction in the Sacred Headwaters must be extended in the face of unresolved concerns about its impact on First Nations, communities and the environment, say the New Democrats.

"After four years, five energy ministers and five ministers of aboriginal relations, the Liberals have yet to address key First Nation and community concerns about coalbed methane extraction in the Sacred Headwaters," said Doug Donaldson, New Democrat MLA for Stikine. “Given the potential of this activity to have harmful consequences for the region's major rivers, the moratorium on coalbed methane extraction in the Sacred Headwaters needs to be extended."

The Sacred Headwaters is the source of the Northwest’s three great rivers, the Skeena, the Nass and the Stikine. In the face of overwhelming opposition to coalbed methane extraction in the Sacred Headwaters a moratorium was put in place in 2008. It expires this month.

The Liberal government has so far been unable to report any progress in addressing the community, First Nations and environmental concerns about potential coalbed methane extraction in the region.

“Given the Liberals’ failure to deliver an updated water act and their unwillingness to do more to address existing concerns surrounding water, oil and gas activities we must continue to maintain the moratorium on coalbed methane extraction in the Sacred Headwaters,” said Rob Fleming, New Democrat environment critic.

“The Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers are the lifeline for some of British Columbia’s most treasured landscapes and vital ecosystems. We can’t afford to put them at risk.”

Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats have a plan to reduce inequality and build a stronger, more sustainable economy by investing in skills training and taking action to help communities fight climate change.