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Document reveals influence of oil and gas lobbyists on B.C. officials after Indigenous Rights ruling

By Matt Simmons, The Narwhal, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

In the wake of a precedent-setting Indigenous Rights case in June 2021, B.C.’s ministry of energy did something rather unprecedented: it immediately cancelled summer auctions for new oil and gas tenures.

This sudden closure of oil and gas opportunities in response to the Blueberry decision — a B.C. Supreme Court ruling, which determined the province violated the Treaty Rights of Blueberry River First Nations by permitting and encouraging damaging industrial development — sent a shudder through the industry that continues to reverberate across the country today.

Documents  released to The Narwhal through freedom of information legislation show  petroleum and natural gas (PNG) lobbyists told public servants that  B.C. could lose more than $90 million in annual revenue and up to 10,000  jobs as a result of the Blueberry decision. These stark warnings were  then passed on to senior B.C. government officials, including Fazil  Mihlar, deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

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