B.C. government says no coal mining, oil or gas drilling in the Flathead Valley

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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BILLINGS, Mon. - British Columbia's government said Tuesday it will not permit mining or drilling in a remote valley along the Montana border that companies have been trying to develop for 25 years.
Oil exploration, gas drilling and coal mining are all proposed for the Flathead Valley, just north of Glacier National Park. But international pressure has been increasing to ban those activities, which United States and U.N. officials have said would mar a scenic valley relatively untouched by development.
As the world turns its attention on the province with the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. Lt.-Gov. Steven Point a throne speech Tuesday the province wants to show its commitment to the environment.
"Mining, oil and gas development and coal-bed gas extraction will not be permitted in British Columbia's Flathead Valley," he said.
Point said the province instead wants to build a new "creative economy" around clean technology, innovative forestry industries and tourism.
In January, a team of U.N. scientists recommended a moratorium on mining in the valley.
Nearby Glacier park in Montana and Waterton International Park in Canada were designated as a World Heritage site in 1995 because of their outstanding scenery and abundant wildlife.
A 2003 British Columbia land-use plan for the area set mining as a high priority and said other uses such as wildlife habitat and recreation "will not preclude ... approval of mining activities."
In December, Max Resource Corp. said it had extracted samples of high-grade gold from a ridge about 16 kilometres north of Glacier.
In 1985, a U.S.-Canada joint commission rejected an open pit coal mine in the same area, known as Cabin Creek, because of potential environmental damages.

Organizations: U.N., Max Resource

Geographic location: Flathead Valley, British Columbia, Montana Glacier National Park United States Vancouver, B.C. Lt.-Gov Waterton International Park Canada Cabin Creek

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