The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Europe: Karen Tam Wu, Senior Conservation Campaigner: +1 778-846-5647;
North America: Claudia Li, Communications Officer: +1 604-723-0134

Shareholders Face Crime Scene at Shell Annual General Meeting

Shell’s coalbed methane project in Canada blamed for death of moose, grizzly bears and wild salmon


Several hundred shareholders who gathered for Shell's Annual General Meeting were greeted at the entrance by Canadian and Dutch protesters depicting a crime scene.

Fish carcasses were littered amongst the chalk outlines of moose and bear, and a crucified wild salmon. "Starvation and population decline due to Shell's proposed coalbed methane project," were the cited "cause of death." The convicted felons of the crime, two prominent Shell executives, showed no remorse.

"This crime scene depicts the dire consequences of Shell's proposed plans to develop coalbed methane in the Sacred Headwaters," said Karen Tam Wu, ForestEthics Senior Conservation Campaigner. "Coalbed methane drilling will have devastating impacts to wild salmon and wildlife, and Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser, and Shell Canada President, Lorraine Mitchelmore, will be responsible for their deaths," said Tam Wu.

Currently under a moratorium that is due to expire in 2012, Shell's plans to drill coalbed methane in the Sacred Headwaters would require the erection of thousands of wells, construction of thousands or kilometers of roads. A technique known as hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' would be employed to extract methane at the source of three of Canada's most significant salmon rivers, and the heart of one of the largest intact remaining wilderness areas.

"Shell claims that the practice of fracking is safe, but several studies show that we do not know enough about what happens underground. With their heads in the sand and eyes closed, Shell executives are ignoring the risks from fracking to the environment and people's health," said Tam Wu.

Fracking requires injecting vast quantities of fresh water and toxic chemical additives underground at high pressure. The French Parliament, State of New York, province of Quebec have passed laws to ban fracking. Just last week, Duke University released findings from a study concluding that gas was leaking from fracking operations into drinking water.

The Sacred Headwaters, located in northwestern British Columbia, Canada, is an area of high cultural significance for several First Nations and is rich in biological diversity and unique in its landscape. The area meets UNESCO criteria for a World Heritage Site.

Founded in 2000, ForestEthics is a nonprofit environmental organization with staff in Canada, the United States and Chile. Our mission is to protect Endangered Forests and wild places, wildlife, and human wellbeing--one of our focus areas is climate change, which compromises all of our efforts if left unchecked. We catalyze environmental leadership among industry, governments and communities by running hard-hitting and highly effective campaigns that leverage public dialogue and pressure to achieve our goals.