Conservationists Coming to London to Oppose BP
Groups from Canada, US say BP ‘not listening’
Conservationists from Canada and the US feel BP isn’t listening to their concerns about drilling for coalbed methane (CBM) near their Rocky Mountain community.
So they’re coming to the UK to make sure their voice is heard.
Members of southeastern British Columbia-based Wildsight and the Canadian-US Flathead Coalition will fly to London, England this week to attend BP’s annual general meeting and to meet with major BP shareholders.
“There have been many chances for BP to participate in public discussion here in B.C. about the fate of our communities. So far, BP has chosen not to be a part,” says Wildsight Program Manager Kat Hartwig, who will be representing the organization in London. “We’re coming to London to make sure they understand there will be people and communities affected by their actions.”
The CBM extraction process requires an enormous network of roads and well sites to be carved from the landscape. Extraction often causes large amounts of potentially toxic groundwater containing heavy metals or salt – deemed wastewater under provincial law – to surface. Disposal of this wastewater has the potential to spill into water sources for surrounding communities and beyond.
“BP executives should know there is more than just profit at stake here,” says Hartwig. “The health and well being of entire communities will be negatively affected if this spectacular land is disfigured.”
Southeastern B.C. – known as the East Kootenay – is home to majestic mountains, abundant nature, and one of the most diverse wildlife populations in the world. The B.C. provincial government is very close to granting BP the rights to drill for CBM in a 300 sq. km area adjacent to the town of Fernie. A decision is expected this spring.
On April 12th, nearly 300 residents of Fernie took to the streets to oppose BP and their proposals to drill for coalbed methane in southeastern B.C.
“BP and the provincial government are failing to provide substantial, truthful information about this issue,” says Hartwig. “We just want to make sure they know this is not a business decision. It’s a people decision.”