Tag Archives: British Columbia

Cline Mining sues BC for $500 million due to lost mining claims in Flathead Valley

Well, now, look who’s in the news again.

Cline Mining, the outfit that wanted to put an open pit coal mine in the North Fork headwaters area up in Canada, is suing the British Columbia government for losses incurred when the province passed the Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act.

Read the full article. There are a number of interesting nuggets buried in the later paragraphs . . .

Cline Mining has filed a $500-million lawsuit against the British Columbia government after losing a series of mining claims in the Flathead Valley in southeast B.C.

Cline’s action comes 27 months after the province yielded to pressure from environmentalists and the U.S. government to halt mining activity on the Canadian side of the environmentally sensitive Flathead, which is within Glacier National Park in Montana. The north fork of the Flathead, which has its headwaters in B.C., is part of the U.S. “wild and scenic rivers system” once it crosses from the East Kootenays into Montana.

Continue reading . . .

Superintendent discusses future challenges for Glacier National Park

Today’s Flathead Beacon has a pretty good write-up on a recent talk by Chas Cartwright, the Superintendent of Glacier National Park . . .

As the superintendent of Glacier National Park, Chas Cartwright has his eyes on the future, as well as the challenges it could hold for conservation and construction in the Crown of the Continent.

Cartwright spoke on Feb. 23 at an event hosted by the Glacier National Park Fund at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, discussing the major issues the park currently faces and how he envisions those issues playing out.

Continue reading . . .

Public forum on ecological value of Waterton-Glacier Park to be held March 12

(Text and images shamelessly stolen from the latest Headwaters Montana newsletter. . .)

Leading Scientists to Talk about Griz,
Critters with Teeth, and Wet-and-Wild River Things

 ~ Please Join Us for an Informative Evening ~


When: Monday, March 12, 2012, 7-9pm
Where: Grouse Mountain Lodge, 2 Fairway Dr., Whitefish
Cost: $10 suggested donation
Cash Bar / Seating Limited ~ come early!


Headwaters Montana is co-sponsoring an important science forum on the ecological value of Waterton – Glacier International Peace Park and the importance of completing Waterton Park by expanding the park into British Columbia.

Three leading researchers will make presentation on transboundary grizzly bear populations, aquatics, fisheries, ungulates and predator wildlife species.

The three researchers will focus on recent scientific discoveries and insights made in the vicinity of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

  • Dr. Richard Hauer is director of the recently formed Montana Institute on Ecosystems of the University of Montana, will speak about the biological richness of the transboundary Flathead River (aka the North Fork Flathead River), and make the case that the Flathead River system is one of the most ecologically intact rivers in the Lower 48.
  • Dr. Michael Proctor is the Principal Investigator for the Trans-Border Grizzly Bear Project based in British Columbia.  Dr. Proctor recently published a ground-breaking study published in the Wildlife Monographs that documents the challenges facing grizzly bears in the transboundary region of the Rocky Mountains between Montana and British Columbia.

Headwaters Montana is co-sponsoring the event with Wildsight, National Parks Conservation Association, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and Sierra Club BC.

A more personal view of the new B.C. law protecting the Flathead Basin

Ralph Maughan’s The Wildlife News weblog presents a refreshingly personal view of the recent B.C. legislation to protect the Flathead Basin . . .

What a turnaround in the space of 3 years!

In 2008 I took a 2 week trip to the headwaters of the famed North Fork of the Flathead River in B.C. to say goodbye to one of North America’s premier fish and wildlife areas, not to mention its incredible beauty.

Huge open pit coal mines, long in the planning, now seemed unstoppable. In addition thousands of coal bed methane wells were planned that would surely ruin the river right from its headwaters and downstream all the way to Flathead Lake in Montana.  Wildlife in Glacier National Park would be greatly harmed too. There seemed to be no hope.

Then, suddenly, everything began to change for the better…

Continue reading . . .

British Columbia passes formal law protecting Flathead Basin

British Columbia has now passed formal legislation protecting the Canadian Flathead (and the folks downstream on the U.S. side of the border) from extractive resource development. This is big news. (Albeit slightly stale — your friendly webperson got a little buried by his day job.) The Missoulian has a good write-up . . .

Canadian legislation to protect the Flathead River Basin from mining and energy development has formally passed the British Columbia Parliament.

The Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act received royal assent on Monday evening. The bill cements the Canadian half of an agreement between British Columbia and Montana to maintain the wild and scenic character of the Flathead River, the north fork of which forms the western border of Glacier National Park.

“A healthy and free-flowing Flathead river is good for people and wildlife on both sides of the border,” said Dr. Richard Jeo, a biologist and director for The Nature Conservancy’s Canada Program. “This binational effort gives hope to communities whose economies rely on the river and to iconic wildlife that represent the spirit of the West.”

Continue reading . . .

Effort moving forward to protect trans-boundary Flathead from mining, energy development

From the Missoulian . . .

An effort to protect the transboundary Flathead River from mining and energy development moved a step forward Tuesday in the British Columbia Parliament.

Montana’s Gov. Brian Schweitzer and then-B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell signed a memorandum of understanding last year preserving the Flathead watershed, which borders Glacier National Park and the mountains west of Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Montana Sen. Max Baucus put a bill in Congress to solidify the commitment on the U.S. side; it’s still awaiting action.

On Tuesday, B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced a similar measure was put before the B.C. Parliament. The bill would prohibit issuing permits for mining, oil and gas development.

Continue reading . . .

B.C. introduces mining and energy ban legislation to protect Flathead

From an announcement sent out by Dave Hadden of Headwaters Montana . . .

British Columbia’s new premier, Christie Clark, has made good on her predecessor Gordon Campbell’s commitment to ban mining and energy extraction in the headwaters of the transboundary Flathead River.

Yesterday, her Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson, introduced Bill 2, the Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act.

With the certain passage of this bill this year, B.C. will have completed its commitment to ban mining and energy extraction as one part of the historic B.C. – Montana MOU signed in February 2010 at the start of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and The Nature Conservancy of Montana (TNC) will provide $9.4 million to fund the conservation aspects of the agreement and compensate the ‘sunk costs’ of mining and energy companies with leases (tenures) in the watershed.

On the Montana side, senators Baucus and Tester’s senate bill 233, the North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2011, awaits Senate committee action…

A related note by Jon Frederick, NFPA President:

If you want to send money to help make the Memorandum of Understanding complete — that is, to help the Nature Conservancies of The U.S. and Canada pay for expenditures of the exploration companies in the Flathead of British Columbia — write a check to The Nature Conservancy and send it to The Nature Conservancy, 32 South Ewing Street, Helena, MT 59601. Write “Flathead Now! Campaign” in the lower left corner or it won’t go where you wish.

Legislation, more agreements still needed to ensure protection of Flathead region

This well-written, well-researched article by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian is recommended reading for anyone interested in the challenges still to come in protecting the Trans-boundary Flathead . . .

Now that the trans-boundary conference calls and Washington, D.C., hand-shaking sessions are over, a lot remains to finish in protecting the Flathead River between British Columbia and Montana.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s Valentine’s Day announcement that two conservation groups were providing $9.4 million to buy out mining claims on the Canadian side of the Flathead didn’t include all the details of the deal. One significant omission was that while the U.S.-based Nature Conservancy is raising its half of the money through private donations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is dipping into a $225 million Canadian government fund for its contribution.

Continue reading . . .

Wilson discusses North Fork watershed resolution and aftermath

This week’s Hungry Horse News column by Larry Wilson discusses the recent actions on both sides of the border to protect the North Fork watershed and takes a look at what might be coming next. His column is, as usual, recommended reading . . .

Since Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed a memorandum of understanding with British Columbia, which promised up to 17 million dollars to Canadian companies for reimbursement for cash already spent, we have all wondered where he would find the money. Montana could not pay and for months efforts were made, without success, to get Uncle Sam to foot the bill.

Now it seems that an answer has been found! The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the U.S. Nature Conservancy have committed $9.4 million to the government of British Columbia to conclude the British Columbia-Montana memo of understanding signed a year ago. As part of the deal, the province of British Columbia will enact legislation banning the extraction of minerals, oil, gas, and coal within the watershed. With the two nature conservancy groups coming up with this money, protection of the upper North Fork is an important step towards completion.

Continue reading . . .

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell resigns

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell announced his resignation today due to widespread dissatisfaction with recent tax policy. Perhaps “dissatisfaction” is too mild a word; his approval rating plummeted to nine percent.

What’s the North Fork connection?  Premier Campbell and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer signed a Memorandum of Understanding last February banning mining and energy development throughout the trans-boundary Flathead Valley. Campbell’s resignation shouldn’t have any effect on the MOU, but will no doubt be a matter of concern in some quarters anyways.

The Flathead Beacon has a good vest-pocket summary of the situation. If you live on the U.S. side of the border, better read their article first or you’ll likely have no clue what “HST” means.

For greater detail, see the Vancouver Sun’s more extensive coverage.