VICTORIA — A restoration program is being launched to restore northeastern B.C. oil and gas sites and is the first of its kind.
The province stated the project will clean up the environment and restore traditional lands in northeastern B.C.
Legacy sites are pieces of land that have been disturbed with things like seismic lines cut for oil and gas work. The province noted these disturbances have long-lasting effects on traditional land uses by Indigenous people and on wildlife habitat. Before modern requirements, often all the vegetation was removed from sites so large vehicles and equipment could move.
Provincial officials explained deforested legacy sites can impact the environment by making it easier for predators to hunt caribou that traditionally travel these routes, causing caribou populations to decline. Legacy site restoration includes soil and vegetation replacement, providing caribou with a suitable habitat to reproduce.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Legacy Sites Restoration program is a partnership between the provincial government, the federal government, Indigenous communities and a consortium of 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.,” said Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and low-carbon innovation, in a statement. “Our $6.5-million investment with our partners will put British Columbians back to work, clean up our environment and advance reconciliation.”
The other programs are the Dormant Sites Reclamation program and the Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation program.