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Sending the Message To Shell Overseas

Opinion 250

Sending the Message To Shell Overseas
Sunday, July 20, 2008 04:26 AM

Box of letters is delivered

Smithers, BC-    A Royal Dutch Shell representative currently on a trip to Canada is heading home to the Netherlands with some unlikely cargo: 1,730 letters from North Americans opposing Shell’s coalbed methane project in BC’s Sacred Headwaters.
Breeann Semeshchuck of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition hand delivered a giant box containing the letters to Barnaby Briggs from Shell International’s Social Performance Management Unit and another Shell representative. The box was addressed to Royal Dutch Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer.
“Thousands of people in BC and around North America oppose Shell’s drilling for coalbed methane at the headwaters of our salmon rivers,” said Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition’s executive director Shannon McPhail.  “Shell says they’ve been listening to our concerns, but it’s time they started hearing what we’re saying.”
The letters are the latest in a growing effort to stop Shell’s drilling plans. On Tuesday, First Nations drumming and chants of “Get the Shell Out” echoed throughout Terrace, as over 250 people took to the streets in a rally protesting Shell’s coalbed methane project.
Municipalities and First Nations throughout Northwest BC have also endorsed a resolution calling for the suspension of Shell’s drilling.
“The more people hear about Shell’s plan, the stronger the voices of opposition are becoming,” said McPhail. “If Shell keeps moving ahead, the conflict over this project is only going to escalate.”
At a presentation to the Smithers Chamber of Commerce, Shell’s commercial manager Kathy Penney stated that her company’s project could require 1,000 gas wells and a pipeline heading either east or south.
“The footprint of a project this large will spell disaster for animals such as caribou, sheep and grizzly bears, not to mention impacts on wild salmon,”said McPhail.
Shell originally hoped to continue its exploratory drilling program last winter, but has been delayed by ongoing protests.
Located 400 kilometres north of Smithers, the Sacred Headwaters is the shared birthplace of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers.

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