Oil and Gas Development Banned in British Columbia’s Sacred Headwaters

A major victory for environmental protection was won on Dec. 18, 2012, when the government of British Columbia, Canada, announced that oil and gas development would be banned in the region known as the Sacred Headwaters. iLCP played a very active role in bringing to light the threatened status of this wilderness area by organizing a Photo Expedition there in August 2010. The materials produced by iLCP photographers and affiliates have contributed to educating people from all around the world about the government of British Columbia’s plans to allow oil and gas drilling, as well as mining operations, in this pristine watershed. With the announcement to not issue any future petroleum or natural-gas tenures in the region, the government of British Columbia is effectively making permanent a moratorium that has been in place over the region for the past four years.

The Sacred Headwaters is located in northwest British Columbia, about 600 kilometers (375 miles) north of Terrace, B.C. The region is home to a diversity of wildlife, such as grizzly bears, caribou and moose, and the rivers host teaming salmon populations. The mineral exploitation plans would have seen thousands of gas wells and thousands of kilometres of roads built at the headwaters of the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine rivers—three of B.C.’s top salmon-producing rivers.

iLCP is proud to have supported our program partner, SWCC, in securing this landmark victory for environmental protection, and for the local First Nations’ population. Local First Nations are now looking to develop clean and renewable energy in the region, and are keen to support development that is compatible with their salmon-based economy and cultural heritage.