BC Oil and Gas Commission: Collaboration on Restoration Projects in Northeast B.C.
Oct. 30, 2019
The BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) and Saulteau First Nations announced today that they are working together to advance several new land restoration initiatives in northeast British Columbia.
On May 31, 2019, the Commission introduced a new regulation, making B.C. the first province in western Canada to require the restoration of oil and gas wells as part of its Comprehensive Liability Management Plan (CLMP). The new regulation addresses the long-standing concerns raised by Indigenous communities and members of the public about the pace of restoration on inactive oil and gas sites.
The new measures include improving the rate of wellsite restoration by giving each wellsite a timeline for the cleanup and restoration, as well as rigorous compliance and enforcement checks, and proactive monitoring and inspection.
In addition, the new regulation increases opportunities for Indigenous communities and land owners to identify high priority sites for restoration. The CLMP also creates opportunities to collaborate with Indigenous communities on the role of traditional knowledge in restoration priorities and outcomes.
The Commission, Saulteau First Nations, as well as other Indigenous communities in B.C.’s northeast are beginning to work together on enhanced restoration approaches to provide improved guidance on restoration expectations and report on oil and gas disturbance status across the asset lifecycle. The Commission and Saulteau First Nations have also partnered on a restoration pilot for an orphan site, where the community has overseen the project using traditional ecological knowledge about native plants, wetlands and wildlife habitat. In addition, the Commission was pleased to have been invited to participate in the annual Reclamation Tradefair hosted by Saulteau in May 2019. The Commission continues work with Indigenous communities to strengthen relationships and collaborate on new restoration initiatives.
Work on dormant sites has already begun and once fully implemented, will result in the restoration of over 10,000 wellsites by 2036.
Chief Ken Cameron, Saulteau First Nations: “We believe by working together with government and industry, we can protect the public interest in sustainable development by restoring landscapes and ecosystems to their natural state after oil and gas activities are completed. We welcome the Commission’s efforts to involve our community in creating new restoration frameworks and standards, and we look forward to working together to share and apply our traditional knowledge and our technical expertise on restoration projects. We are confident all British Columbians will benefit from this new approach to collaboration and restoration.”
Paul Jeakins, Commissioner, BC Oil and Gas Commission: “We are proud to support the work being undertaken by Saulteau First Nations on restoration issues in northeast B.C. The Commission values Indigenous insights and looks forward to continuing conversations about restoration initiatives. In the meantime, Saulteau’s commitment to restoration research and training, and their use of ecologically suitable and culturally appropriate native plants during restoration, are both exemplary.”
Council Executive Assistant
BC Oil and Gas Commission