TAHLTAN Central Council president Annita McPhee with Tides Canada award.

TAHLTAN Central Council president Annita McPhee with Tides Canada award.

Tahltan, province and Shell receive environmental award

Award recognizes work done to preserve the Klappan area of northwestern British Columbia

THE TAHLTAN Nation has shared an award with Shell Canada, two environmental groups and the provincial government for work done to preserve the Klappan area of northwestern B.C.

The award from the Tides Canada environmental organization follows on a deal announced late last year for Shell to surrender its coalbed methane drilling and exploration tenure in the area also called the Sacred Headwaters in return for $20 million in provincial royalty credits to develop a water recycling plant at a gas project in northeastern B.C.

Forest Ethics and the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition of northwestern B.C. are the two environmental groups sharing the award.

Annita McPhee, president of the Tahltan Central Council, accepted the award at an event held in Toronto.

The Klappan is the headwaters of three major northwestern B.C. rivers, the Skeena, the Nass and the Stikine.

The award was one of 10 presented by Tides Canada in its recognition of projects it says address environmental and social challenges.

In accepting the award, McPhee said resource-based projects remain a worry on traditional Tahltan territory.

“Shell Oil may be gone from our traditional lands, but new coal mining proposals are a major concern too,” said McPhee.

Fortune Minerals of London, Ontario has been trying for years to develop an anthracite coal mining project in the Klappan.

And while the Tahltan have signed economic and social development agreements with AltaGas of Calgary for nearly $1 billion worth of run-of-river hydroelectric projects on its traditional territory, they have doubts about the planned Red Chris copper mine that’s also located on their traditional territory.

The Red Chris mine, owned by Imperial Metals, has received federal and provincial environmental clearance but the Tahltan say they are worried about potential pollution of ground and surface water sources.