More than 1,000 new jobs coming to B.C.'s north, energy minister says

More than a thousand new jobs will be created in northern B.C. as the province looks to clean up hundreds of wells, Energy Minister Bruce Ralston announced in a news conference with the premier Wednesday.

Premier John Horgan said the federal government is giving $120 million to clean up orphaned and inactive wells that have been described as "an environmental stain" in B.C. The funding was announced by the federal government in April. 

"We'll be able to protect our environment and fight climate change," Horgan said about the project.

The funding will help the province decommission, reclaim or restore 2,000 orphaned or inactive wells and will create 1,200 jobs. 

"Communities in the north will help us identify which areas are in highest need," Horgan said.

The funding will be divided amongst three programs: one to reclaim dormant oil and gas sites, another to reclaim sites where the operator is insolvent and a third to address the impacts these oil and gas activities have had on the environment. 

"Through these three programs, we are accelerating the cleanup of thousands of orphan and inactive wells," Ralston said. 

"This allows us to restore lands of important environmental and cultural relevance, while also supporting local jobs and local economies in B.C.'s northeast."

Applications for the program to help reclaim dormant well sites will open on May 25.