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Canada secures surrender of all oil and gas permits in Pacific offshore

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Canada has secured the surrender of the last remaining permits for oil and gas development off its Pacific Coast, the federal natural resources minister said on Wednesday, after Chevron Canada CVX.N voluntarily relinquished 23 permits this month.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the relinquishment of the permits marked an important milestone in permanently protecting the ecologically rich waters of Canada’s west coast.

While there has been a federal moratorium on oil and gas exploration off the Pacific coast since 1972, permits issued before that date were still valid. U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil XOM.N also relinquished a number of permits last year.

“With these final permits, Natural Resources Canada has officially secured the surrender of all 227 permits in the Pacific offshore,” Wilkinson said in a statement.

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In a statement posted on its website on Feb. 9, Chevron Canada said it had no plans to pursue development of these offshore permits, which cover an estimated 5,900 square kilometers.

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Several of the Chevron permits fell within marine protected areas, Wilkinson said.

(Reporting by Nia Williams in British Columbia Editing by Leslie Adler)

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