The Province of B.C., the Tahltan Nation, Shell Canada, Forest Ethics and the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition have been honoured by Tides Canada for finding unique solutions to environmental issues with the Tides Top 10 award at a ceremony in Toronto last night.
This honour is being awarded in recognition of a tripartite agreement reached between the Province, the Tahltan Central Council and Shell Canada, which resolved First Nations' concerns about possible coalbed gas activities in the Klappan area.
In 2004, Shell acquired rights to this area for exploration purposes. This area is significant to First Nations for cultural and wildlife values and contains the headwaters for the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers. When concerns were voiced in 2008, Shell agreed to a period of inactivity and discussions took place to find a resolution. In December 2012, an agreement was reached to formally end the prospect of coalbed gas exploration in the Klappan.
Shell withdrew its plans to explore for coalbed gas and the Province no longer issues oil and gas tenures in the area. As part of the arrangement, the Province and Shell also agreed to work together on a water recycling project.
The final agreement represented a step forward in ongoing discussions between the Province and the Tahltan Central Council about the long term future of the Klappan and its significance to First Nations.
Since 2003, every year Tides Canada recognizes ten of the nation's most innovative and forward-thinking projects and organizations demonstrating outstanding leadership, vision and impact in addressing pressing environmental and social challenges.
Terry Lake, Minister of Environment -
"The Province of British Columbia is proud to accept the Tides Top 10 award, proving that great things can happen when you work together to find solutions that work for everyone. I'd like to thank Tides Canada for this great honour and acknowledge the collaboration and understanding provided by the Tahltan Central Council and Shell Canada for making this agreement happen."
Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas -
"We have successfully negotiated an agreement that respects the interests of all three major parties. I would like to thank Tides Canada for this award and once again acknowledge the collaboration of Tahltan Central Council and Shell Canada to make it happen."
Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation -
"The agreement is a key part of our ongoing relationship with the Tahltan Nation. It underscores the recent throne speech commitment to reach respectful partnerships, while recognizing and honouring places that are important to First Nations."
For more information about Tides Canada Top 10, please visit: http://tidescanada.org/tidestop10
Ministry of Environment