Three Sisters, Fernie, British Columbia

“Unconventional gas development” is the phrase used to describe the project near Fernie that has just been approved by the BC Government. This is not unconventional in the environmental impacts of the project, just about all fossil fuel extraction has a negative impact on the local environment, rather this in unconventional as it is coal-bed methane that is being extracted.

East Kootenay coalbed methane project gets green light

Environmentalists are upset over the B.C. government’s approval of a contentious coalbed methane project in the East Kootenay. BP Canada has been awarded tenure for its Mist Mountain project near Fernie, Energy Minister Richard Neufeld announced Friday. Neufeld said BP will be bound by some of the toughest regulations for unconventional gas development in North America.

Any destruction of the natural environment is saddening, but this is probably smaller in scale than many logging tenures out in the wilds of BC, and both timber and fossil fuels have been the backbone of Western Canada’s economy for centuries. I’m not attempting in any way to justify the extraction of more gas, we all know that it just means we are going to use it up even faster, and the environemtnal consequences are as yet unknown, but I want to state that I can understand BP and the BC government’s decision to move on this project. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, it is a commodity that meets many of the current administration’s goals for pollution and will obviously bring jobs and profitability to BC and BP.

Follow the comment thread on CBC’s article above for some interesting dialogue – a lot of complaints anbout the complainers.

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Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.