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VICTORIA, B.C. – The Government of British Columbia is launching a new “first-of-its-kind” effort to restore oil and gas legacy sites in northeast B.C.

The province says the program will support good-paying local jobs, clean up the environment, and work to restore traditional lands in the area.

A “legacy site” is an area of land disturbance, like a seismic cut line previously used for oil and gas activities. The disturbance to the natural environment can have long-lasting effects on the traditional land used by Indigenous people and on the wildlife habitats.

In most cases, the vegetation on these legacy sites was removed to allow for the movement of large vehicles and equipment. The sites were created when restoration or reclamation wasn’t something that was required. Standards are currently much higher.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Legacy Sites Restoration program features a collaboration between the provincial government, the federal government, Indigenous communities, and different industry members.

“This new program is one of three aimed at cleaning up the environment by restoring lands impacted by the oil and gas sector in northeastern B.C. Our $6.5 million investment with our partners will put British Columbians back to work, clean up our environment and advance reconciliation,” says Bruce Ralson, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low-Carbon Innovation.

In 2020, the Province and the oil and gas sector signed a Petroleum and Natural Gast Restoration Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on planning and jointly funding projects designed to restore and reclaim legacy oil and gas disturbances in the natural landscape.

The Province and signatories for the MOU initially contributed $1.5 million to help with the restoration program.

The Province also allocated an additional $5 million to restore the sites from the $120 million provided by the Government of Canada as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The funding was divided into three programs, the Dormant Sites Reclamation program, the Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation program, and the Legacy Sites Restoration program. These programs will help to boost the provincial economy and work to restore the environment.

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