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Shell gives up plans in British Columbia

Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:06 AM

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Shell Canada is withdrawing plans to explore for resources in northwest British Columbia as part of an environmental agreement, the provincial government said.

The British Columbian government announced it joined the aboriginal Tahltan Central Council and Shell Canada in a decision to abandon plans for a coalbed methane program in the provincial northwest. The government said it wouldn't permit petroleum or natural gas work in the future.

"Together, we have put agreements in place that respect the interest of all three major parties and have tangible benefits for British Columbians," said provincial Energy Minister Rich Coleman.

The government said the region has cultural significance to the aboriginal community. It's also considered a vital waterway for salmon.

Shell gets $20.3 million in royalty credits to build a water recycling project "in recognition of the loss, upfront capital" the company spent on the natural gas project.

Tahltan Central Council President Annita McPhee said the aboriginal community appreciated Shell's respect for cultural values by giving up plans to develop the Klappan area in northwestern British Columbia.

"Our people do not want to see it developed and we look forward to working with B.C. on achieving permanent protection of the Klappan," she said in a statement.

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