Shell criticized at awards gala

June 05, 2008

A PROMINENT Canadian nationalist says she’s going to donate a $5,000 environment award she received to the effort to stop Shell from drilling for coalbed methane natural gas in the Klappan area.

Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians was one of a group of people to receive money at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards in Toronto June 2 which were hosted by Canadian Geographic magazine and, ironically, sponsored partially by Shell.

Barlow, who was also the keynote speaker, said that the anti-drilling effort has become a case of “your struggle is our struggle.”

Shell provided $60,000 in cash to 18 recipients in six categories in the community section of the award categories.

Barlow received money and the Citation of Lifetime Achievement award. Her latest effort has focussed on the world’s water crisis. Past recipients of the achievement award include David Suzuki.

The Victoria-based Dogwood Initiative, one of a long list of groups opposing Shell’s drilling plans, helped organize anti-Shell demonstrators outside of the awards gala and distributed information inside.

Dogwood spokesman Eric Swanson said the action will be one of a continuing series aimed at Shell.

“We’re going to keep this up until it becomes obvious to Shell that it shouldn’t be drilling,” he said.

Environmentalists and some Tahltan (the Klappan is within Tahltan traditional terrritory) worry of the environmental effects on water and salmon that might come from any drilling.

Shell drilled three test wells in 2004 and wants to drill up to 14 more this fall but has been facing growing opposition to its plans.

Shell officials say the company must first determine if there is enough gas present for a commercially viable extraction operation.

Anti-drilling protestors were at Shell’s annual general meeting in Europe in May, appeared outside Shell offices in Calgary and gathered at Shell gas stations last fall.

(Posted June 5, 2008 at 7 a.m.)