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Agreement makes BC one of Tides Top 10

The Province of BC, the Tahltan Nation, Shell Canada, Forest Ethics and the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition have been honoured by Tides Canada for finding unique solutions to environmental issues with the Tides Top 10 award at a ceremony in Toronto last night, according to a press release from the Government of British Columbia this morning.  Here's what the release said:

 This honour is being awarded in recognition of a tripartite agreement
reached between the Province, the Tahltan Central Council and Shell
Canada, which resolved First Nations' concerns about possible coalbed
gas activities in the Klappan area.

"We have successfully negotiated an agreement that respects the
interests of all three major parties. I would like to thank Tides
Canada for this award and once again acknowledge the collaboration of
Tahltan Central Council and Shell Canada to make it happen," said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas.

"The Province of British Columbia is proud to accept the Tides Top 10
award, proving that great things can happen when you work together to
find solutions that work for everyone. I'd like to thank Tides Canada
for this great honour and acknowledge the collaboration and
understanding provided by the Tahltan Central Council and Shell
Canada for making this agreement happen," said Terry Lake, Minister of Environment.

In 2004, Shell acquired rights to this area for exploration purposes.
This area is significant to First Nations for cultural and wildlife
values and contains the headwaters for the Skeena, Nass and Stikine
rivers. When concerns were voiced in 2008, Shell agreed to a period
of inactivity and discussions took place to find a resolution. In
December 2012, an agreement was reached to formally end the prospect
of coalbed gas exploration in the Klappan.

Shell withdrew its plans to explore for coalbed gas and the Province
no longer issues oil and gas tenures in the area. As part of the
arrangement, the Province and Shell also agreed to work together on a
water recycling project.

The final agreement represented a step forward in ongoing discussions
between the Province and the Tahltan Central Council about the long
term future of the Klappan and its significance to First Nations.

"The agreement is a key part of our ongoing relationship with the
Tahltan Nation. It underscores the recent throne speech commitment to
reach respectful partnerships, while recognizing and honouring places
that are important to First Nations," said Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

Since 2003, every year Tides Canada recognizes ten of the nation's
most innovative and forward-thinking projects and organizations
demonstrating outstanding leadership, vision and impact in addressing
pressing environmental and social challenges."

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