Tag Archives: coal-bed methane

Bennett fires back with haughty e-mail

Here’s a curiousity. Just a year ago, Bill Bennett, British Columbia’s mining minister, was forced to resign due to some wildly intemperate remarks regarding opposition to resource development in the Canadian Flathead. Bennett, now Tourism, Culture and Arts Minister, is at it again. This time, he was responding to a Fernie area tourism operator accusing Bennett of being more interested in coalbed methane development than tourism.

From the Thursday, February 5, 2009 online edition of 24 Hours Vancouver . . .

Tourism, Culture and Arts Minister Bill Bennett has described a tourism operator in his riding as having “bigoted” and “ignorant” opinions – accusing Steve Kuijt of writing a “vicious and mean-spirited” e-mail, which “may well be libelous.”

Read the entire article . . .

More on BP’s Mist Mountain coalbed methane project

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post regarding the Mist Mountain coalbed methane project, here are links to some additional information . . .

Our friends in Fernie, BC are not very happy about BP Canada’s plans. See the Citizens Concerned About Coalbed Methane site for details.

Wildsight posted a press release last Friday that does a good job of summarizing the problems local residents have with coalbed methane development. It also links to some additional material.

BP’s Mist Mountain Coalbed Gas Project site is another source of information. In particular, the maps page is a bit of an eye-opener.

What’s the Flathead connection? Earlier this year, BP withdrew their efforts to explore the Canadian Flathead for coalbed methane development, but left the door open to return at a later date. (See this post, for example.) Mist Mountain is in the Elk River watershed, not far from the Flathead headwaters and already the site of an open pit mine and a proposed wind farm. Events there are a good predictor of what might happen if that sort of activity spills over into the Flathead Valley.

Canadian Flathead left out of natural-gas deal

From the Saturday, December 6, 2008 online edition of the Daily Inter Lake . . .

BP Canada on Friday received natural-gas rights for a potential energy project in a segment of British Columbia watched closely by environmental activists in both the province and in Montana.

British Columbia granted the rights to BP for its proposed Mist Mountain coal-bed methane project in the province’s southeast, after the Flathead River Basin was removed from the project area. In the debate about possible environmental effects from Mist Mountain coal-bed methane work, the border-spanning Flathead had been particularly prominent, with activists in Montana raising the specter of harm traveling downstream.

Even with the Flathead removed, the prospect of the coal-bed methane project in combination with other current and proposed industrial activity in southeastern British Columbia is alarming, said Will Hammerquist of the National Parks Conservation Association in Whitefish near Glacier National Park, which extends to the British Columbia border.

Read the entire article . . .

Public Officials Deserve Thanks for Protecting Flathead Water

The Friday, March 7, 2008 online edition of the Flathead Beacon published the following commentary by Will Hammerquist, Glacier program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association . . .

Growing up within a bike ride of the Flathead River, I had no idea that my favorite river originated in British Columbia. I just knew that the Flathead River is special and its clean, cold waters were undeniable.

As I grew older, I learned that the three forks of the Flathead come together in Bad Rock Canyon to form the Flathead and that the North Fork is the wildest and most remote of the three.

As an adult, I came to understand that while the Montana portion of the North Fork is one of the most pristine and protected rivers in America, the Canadian headwaters are zoned for mountaintop-removal coalmines, coalbed methane extraction and all other types of metal mining and drilling.

Here in the Flathead, generations of Montanans have long raised concerns over the impacts of these activities on our water, fish and wildlife. Experts warn pollution that from such activities would flow into Glacier National Park within hours and to Flathead Lake within days.

Last month, Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Gov. Brian Schweitzer held a town-hall meeting to discuss the future of the Canadian headwaters of Flathead River and Flathead Lake. In the past five years, three mountaintop-removal coalmines and two coalbed methane projects have been proposed for the Canadian Flathead.

A packed room of 300 people cheered when Baucus announced that energy giant British Petroleum had abandoned their proposal to develop coalbed methane in the Canadian portion of the Flathead. American democracy and diplomacy was at work. Our elected officials summed up what we all know: Water is Montana’s most precious resource and Glacier’s wildlife, native trout and pristine waters are the fabric of our community, economy and way of life.

Our elected officials – at every level – deserve credit for delivering Montana’s bipartisan voice in the Canadian halls of power and the corporate boardrooms of British Petroleum. Montana concerns are validated as our Canadian neighbors in Fernie, Cranbrook and Elko join with us to protect water quality and wildlife.

While last month’s announcement represents a significant step in our efforts to protect this international treasure – it does not spell victory. Cline Mining Corporation is still promoting a risky and speculative proposal to literally remove a mountain directly above a key North Fork tributary to mine coal for the next 20 years. Another plan is in the works to mine coal under the North Fork riverbed itself.

The acknowledgment of Canadian officials that this area – the heart of the Crown of the Continent – is too special and internationally significant for industrial fossil fuel extraction is a positive development. We all use fossil fuels, but part of responsible energy development is recognizing that some places are just too special to put at risk. The Crown of the Continent is one of those priceless areas.

Now is the time for the provincial and federal governments of Canada to advance a plan for the permanent protection of the Flathead that respects the existing, world-class values of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and surrounding landscape for current and future generations.

The National Parks Conservation Association will continue to work with local communities, Montana leaders, and our Canadian neighbors to advocate for a long-term solution.

BP still mulling coal-bed extraction

From the Thursday, February 28, 2008 online edition of the Missoulian . . .

Canadian politicians and industry remain keenly interested in coal-bed methane reserves north of Glacier National Park, despite an announcement last week that such plans were off the table.

“We are still very interested in the potential of the Canadian Flathead,” said Jessica Whiteside, spokesperson for BP Canada. Her company already has begun collecting environmental data there, in anticipation of energy development, “and we do plan to continue those environmental studies.”

The reason BP Canada continues investing in the Flathead, even after British Columbia’s government pulled that drainage out of a broader project, is because the company “will ask for coal-bed methane rights in the Flathead” sometime in the future.

Read the entire article . . .

BP Backs Down, but Threat Remains

From the Wednesday, February 27, 2008 online edition of the Flathead Beacon . . .

The announcement by British Petroleum last week that it was dropping plans to drill for coal-bed methane in the Canadian Flathead was cause for celebration for just about everyone in Montana downstream of the proposed project. But BP’s pullback only underscores the ongoing proposals to mine and drill in the area that remain.

Read the entire article . . .

BP Drops Coal-Bed Methane Exploration Project North of Glacier Park

From the Thursday, February 21, 2008 online edition of the Flathead Beacon . . .

With the peaks of Glacier National Park visible through the window, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus told a crowd at Flathead Valley Community College Thursday that British Petroleum is dropping its plans for coal-bed methane exploration in the headwaters of the North Fork of the Flathead River in British Columbia. Baucus said he received a phone call earlier in the day from Robert Malone, chairman and president of BP America, informing him that the company was backing off.

“I think it’s basically because we all worked very hard to prevent that from happening,” Baucus said. “I take this very personally.”

Read the entire article . . .

Canadians Say Flathead Energy Projects Will Face ‘Comprehensive’ Review

From the Tuesday, January 15, 2008 online edition of the Flathead Beacon . . .

Canadian regulators say potential coal and gas projects north of Glacier National Park face many hurdles, including regulatory review.

Montana officials have criticized potential development of a coal mine and a coal-bed methane operation in southeastern British Columbia. On Tuesday, the Montana Legislature’s Environmental Quality Council invited Canadian officials to provide their perspective at a meeting in Helena.

British Columbia officials reiterated the projects have not begun clearing regulatory hurdles. Garry Alexander of the province’s Environmental Assessment Office said the government will conduct a “comprehensive” evaluation.

Other Canadian regulators, speaking by conference call, said Montana agencies and residents will have an opportunity to comment on plans as they move forward. Proposed projects often are modified during the permit process, the regulators said.

Read the entire article . . .

BP Coalbed Methane and Cline Mine

From the Tuesday, September 11, 2007 online edition of the Flathead Beacon . . .

In a Washington D.C. meeting with executives for British Petroleum, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., issued his harshest rebukes yet for BP’s coalbed methane exploration proposal in the Canadian Flathead, according to a release sent from his office Monday afternoon. Baucus also called for public meetings in Kalispell to allow Montanans to weigh in on the project.

BP can expect “a knock-down, drag-out fight” and “a massive and unpleasant fight from Montana that will end badly” Baucus told BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone and BP Canada chief Randy McLeod, according to the release.

Baucus’s threats refer specifically to BP’s intent to file an exploratory permit for what it calls its “Mist Mountain” coalbed methane (CBM) extraction project in southeastern British Columbia.

Read the entire article . . .