British Columbia to Sell Land North of Glacier National Park for Mining

Despite strong reservations expressed by Montana state officials and citizens, British Columbia announced yesterday that it will proceed with the sale of land just north of Glacier National Park for exploratory drilling for coal-bed methane. Coal-bed methane is a kind of natural gas; drilling for it involves displacing large amounts of groundwater and often results in the discharge of salty water that can pollute aquifers. Montanans fear that such water will contaminate the Flathead River, which flows along Glacier’s northern border. Montana officials had requested that B.C. officials conduct an environmental impact study, but the latter responded with a big fat No. For now there will only be exploratory drilling, but as Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) sees it, if the exploration finds “marketable product,” then “the camel’s nose is already under the tent flap and we’re going to find the whole camel under the tent. We may not like the result.”