Letter to the Secretary of the Interior Re: Canadian Energy Proposal and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
Interior Secretary Says Yes to Rehberg's Meeting Request on Canadian Energy Proposal
Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today praised a Department of Interior (DOI) decision to schedule a meeting between DOI and Canadian representatives regarding protection of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park from proposed British Columbian energy exploration. Rehberg had previously sent a letter to Secretary Dirk Kempthorne requesting the meeting.
"Proposed energy development north of Glacier has the potential to be a big problem," said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "Before any proposal moves forward, we need to know how this development will affect the Waterton-Glacier area and what steps British Columbia is willing to take to reduce the environmental impacts of their energy development. A face-to-face meeting is a great way to begin working through these concerns."
In 1995, the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Later this month, the World Heritage Convention will hold their annual General Assembly of States Parties in Paris, France.
In his letter, Rehberg asked that at the upcoming assembly in France, the United States delegation, co-headed by Todd Willens, Department of Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and the Canadian delegation meet separately to discuss these energy proposals. This afternoon, Deputy Assistant Secretary Willens agreed to the request and will be working to finalize the details of the meeting this week.
"I strongly believe a meeting between the two delegations at the World Heritage Convention will result in a productive discussion and a better understanding of the need to protect the environmental sanctity of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and the entire Flathead watershed," said Rehberg in the letter.
The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240-0001
Dear Mr. Secretary,
Recently, there has been increased interest in energy exploration and production in British Columbia, Canada that poses a possible threat to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. As you are aware, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in 1995 as a World Heritage Site.
Pursuant to the World Heritage Convention, signatory countries pledge not to harm World Heritage sites in their own countries or in those of other participating countries. I am aware the next opportunity for a discussion of issues involving possible threats to the World Heritage values of Waterton-Glacier is the upcoming meeting of the General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, to be held in Paris, France later this month. Though I understand this matter is not on the agenda of the General Assembly, I would appreciate it if you ensure the United States delegation, co-headed by the Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, meets separately with the Canadian delegation to discuss this matter.
I appreciate your assistance in making this meeting a high priority for the United States delegation as it is my understanding that Gordon Campbell, the Premier of British Columbia, and the Governor of Montana have so far been unable to reach an agreement to meet to personally discuss this issue. I strongly believe a meeting between the two delegations at the World Heritage Convention will result in a productive discussion and a better understanding of the need to protect the environmental sanctity of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and the entire Flathead watershed. I would also request my staff be present so I may receive a full report on the results of such a meeting.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Member of Congress