Coal Dead Meth - We’re Done!

By Merv Ritchie – The Terrace Daily

Don’t bother protesting don’t waste your time. This is no democracy and your vote is equally wasted. There is no level of government worthy of your attention, they are all bought and paid for. It is a dictatorship no less. No secret ballots for those representing us. If they don’t vote they way they are told they are booted out. Government or opposition. This is not a democracy. Make no mistake!

Coal bed methane is coming like it or not too. The Skeena River, the last pure river in North America, is about to be come a wasteland just like the rest. Royal Dutch Shell is coming to town on Friday and they are coming with artillery. The Regional District is about to be obliterated. Oh they will be polite and use massaging words “we mean no harm.”

Previous, more calm SWCC/Shell reporting.

Never mind that the Union of BC Municipalities made a resolution in 2003 requesting

“that the BC Provincial Government issue no further drilling licences, tenures or other permits for coalbed methane exploration and development until local communities, their local government and First Nations are consulted and their concerns are fully considered and until adequate policies, regulations and guidelines are enacted to ensure the safe development of coalbed methane in the Province of British Columbia.”

What was the response of the Gordon Campbell Provincial dictatorship?

The government has strong and adequate policies, regulations and guidelines for the safe and responsible development of coalbed gas. British Columbia has over 50 years of experience in regulating and managing natural gas, with a strong record of safety, environmental stewardship and community involvement.
Coalbed gas has some new aspects and issues, and government has made some adaptations to current practices, but will safely and responsibly manage development under the existing regulatory and policy framework.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines recognizes that communities have concerns about potential coalbed gas development. It has made active efforts over the past three years to communicate with communities to help them understand the technology of coalbed gas development and the government processes involved in leasing gas rights and developing the coalbed gas resource. In 2002, the Ministry held 12 community meetings, and in 2003 it held 18 community meetings in communities potentially affected by development. The Ministry has also produced numerous community updates, fact sheets and brochures, as well as web site information.

It is not necessary to halt drilling licenses, tenures or other permits for coalbed methane exploration and development, but it is important for government and communities to continue to work together to understand and manage coalbed gas development.

Paying attention? “Has some new aspects and issues”? This is a brand new technology and everywhere it has been tried has resulted in devastating environmental impacts. “Made some adaptations to current practices”? What? Explain please! The company does not even need to provide any environmental impact studies during their “exploratory stage” which could include hundreds of drilled wells in the watershed. “Ministry of Energy and Mines . . . has made active efforts . . . with communities to help them understand the technology . . .” Now this is just nonsense! Protests upon protests and arrests? You’ve tried to help us understand how? By sending us to jail? Are hangings next?

This is all a load of ca ca. The BC government has no concerns about our local interests and has made no effort to address our concerns here in the Northwest just like they do not give a damn about the concerns of those in the Southeast. Poor old Fernie residents standing on their own fighting the monolith of the coalbed methane industrialists that do not care if the land is devastated. And we here in the Northwest are facing the same bunch of corporate criminals and we think we stand alone too.

There is absolutely no economic benefit to coalbed methane gas extraction period. Read my lips. Did you attend any of the meetings? No? I was at virtually every political gathering and virtually no one else was there. Some attended meetings at the Kiva Café and at Kitsumkalum but that is not where the politicians are. If you do not get in their faces you will not be heard. Here are the straight goods. The gas is extracted and shipped off in pipelines. No residual benefit to the region, which it was taken from and nothing but risk to the local ecology. The risk is not just the Skeena River and the Salmon. Just like what Shell did in Nigeria. Devastated the Country and then the government hung Ken Saro Wiwa and eight others when they protested and demonstrated about it.

Oh this is just so radical isn’t it? But wait . . . we are on our way to China to celebrate sports and the Olympic spirit. And does anyone know just where the Canadian pavilion will be? Right next to Tiananmen Square. Yup that’s right. We simply do not care or even have the capacity as a Nation to stand up against such a brutal suppression of human dignity that was demonstrated by hundreds of brave souls who were summarily run over by the tanks or shot by this brutal Chinese dictatorship only 19 years ago. This wasn’t some distant past. Maybe the athletes are too young to remember but us, the adults, the majority, we allow this? Shame on us all.

Oops, that’s right I am living in a dictatorship now just like you. Even our own duly elected representatives cannot effect any change on the oppressive regime of Gordon Campbell. Not oppressive enough? Wait, our logs are shipped off shore for milling, our hydro electric resources are sold off to private/multinational interests, our medical records are kept across the line, our Drivers Licenses will be chipped to record every personal detail, CN Rail (a USA corporation) gets a backroom deal to buy BC Rail, the legislature gets raided and the Courts are hamstrung, the Premier himself is arrested driving drunk in the good ol USA and everyone here wants to say that’s okay while they extradite Marc Emory to the US to serve time for providing hemp seeds for medical relief. The list goes on and on. It is a Monty Python skit yet you sit emotionless.

And this isn’t a brutal dictatorship? Ya Right. Oh they haven’t hung me . . . yet! Okay come and get me. Just like the rest of the drug dealers, Gordo’s no better.

Friday, Royal Dutch Shell shows up at the Regional District with supporters, thanks to Terrace’s Mayor Jack Talstra speaking up after Shannon McPhail presented a fabulous slide show on the hazards that this project envisions along with the lack of regulations (not to mention no lasting economic benefit). He claimed that the Regional District needs to hear from Shell to be fair and balanced. Just like Fox News we suppose. He did the same thing at the Terrace City Council Meeting. Jack is a master at controversy. No mediation just black and white. You’re wrong I’m right kinda guy. Reminds me of Gordie. Kitimat anyone? I guess if you think Harris isn’t a lobbyist to Gordie for Jack you think I’m a nut. Each to their own.

Oh I am so distracted. It is Kathy Penney the Klappan Commercial Regulatory Manager speaking on behalf of Shell Canada and their activities within the Klappan along with Larry Lalonde the Senior Communications Representative on Exploration and production. Doug Ford joins them as a contractor in the Shell Klappan. The Regional District meeting is at 7 pm on Friday April 25. I don’t expect to see you there cause almost no one ever shows up or really seems to care. Yet you do want to read about it or complain over your Tim’s coffee. Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew what you were talking about? I sure like to, even if you might not think I do. I attend the meetings and take notes. I see no one else doing that except the recording secretary. Hmmm. And you wish to question my opinion?
Just in case you didn’t know about the execution of the West African author and activist Ken Saro Wiwa. “He led a campaign against the ecological devastation that petroleum giant Shell was causing in his homeland—the oil-rich region of Nigeria called Ogoniland. The protests targeted the company’s abusive practices and even caused a partial shutdown of some of its facilities. But the Nigerian military regime, led by General Soni Abacha, launched a wave of fierce repression against the Ogoni, which led to the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other men on November 10, 1995, in the yard of Port Harcourt prison”. Abacha, Campbell, Abacha, Campbell . . . nope it doesn’t rhyme. Maybe it’s a synonym.
I wonder if the crack dealers will get the first “crack” at me. Or will it be the oppressive regime of our political dictatorship. I just wonder if the children will ever be free again to swim in a clean river without some junkie freak wandering the banks. Whats on TV tonight survivor? No immunity for me.

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