Coalbed Methane Moratorium Set To Expire

Drilling opponents call for extension


Opponents of coalbed methane drilling in the region dubbed the Sacred Headwaters are pressing the B.C. government to extend a moratorium that's about the expire.

The province imposed a temporary moratorium in 2008 after blockades and protests against Shell Canada's plan for drilling near the headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers.

The Skeena Watershed Coalition is among the groups calling for a permanent ban. Skeena River swimmer Ali Howard, artist Roy Henry Vickers, Tahltan president Annita McPhee and local guides and sport anglers back its demand.

The N.D.P. also says the moratorium must be extended past December 18th. Stikine M.L.A. Doug Donaldson says the Liberal government has failed to address key concerns about coalbed methane after four years, five energy ministers and five ministers of aboriginal relations.