Extreme gas extraction could have devastated the Sacred Headwaters. In 2004, Shell drilled three exploratory wells on the pristine lands of the Sacred Headwaters as part of a larger plan to extract gas from the region using hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking. The destructive process would have transformed the alpine basin into an industrial nightmare of gas wells and roads, destroying wildlife habitat and polluting streams.
Coalbed methane (CBM) is a gas trapped in coal deposits. Extracting it is environmentally risky and requires a high density of wells and the disposal of vast volumes of wastewater. As a result, CBM development leaves an extensive footprint on the land. Given the high risks to the environment and low level of job creation, CBM projects have been met with strong opposition nearly everywhere in British Columbia. A broad cross-section of the public is concerned about CBM, including municipalities, elected officials, First Nations, unions, conservation groups, guide outfitters, ranchers, concerned citizens and more.