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It started with a freedom of information request.

Then we asked you to pitch in to help us pay to get our hands on lobbying records between the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). You came through, and we forked over $643.95 for 626 pages of documents.

Our Alberta reporter, Sharon J. Riley, has been poring over these records, trying to make sense of endless meeting minutes, reports, emails and plans for coffee dates. Then something about automating drilling approvals grabbed her attention.

For our second article resulting from these records, Sharon found that the regulator is planning to automate the vast majority of new oil and gas well approvals. That means no human regulator will review most applications. The regulator calls its new plan "game changing," and says it's "something that few regulators have attempted."

It turns out CAPP representatives have been lobbying for this for a while — and they were thrilled.

Why were they thrilled? Because by CAPP's estimate, the new automated approval system would mean an application for a new well could be approved in 15 minutes.

That's not all we've been up to his week. Keep scrolling because we've got the latest installment in our reader-funded Muskrat Falls series, the last chance to enter our contest and much more.

Emma Gilchrist
Editor-in-chief

Nine things B.C. can learn from the Muskrat Falls dam inquiry

By Sarah Cox

Like Newfoundland's mega hydro dam, the Site C dam is also being built with public money and is billions of dollars over budget. This is part three of our reader-funded series on the Muskrat Falls dam inquiry. Read more.

One day left to crush the competition

The good news is you still have until midnight tomorrow to get all your entries in to win that sweet surf print donated by Jeremy Koreski. Since you're already a subscriber you can enter to win with just one click, and then you'll get a unique link to share for even more contest entries.

The other good news is the top number of referrals is still five, which we know you can totally beat. Time to reach out to your friends and fam directly, people!

A Gwich’in artist elevates Indigenous jewelry

By Jimmy Thomson

Tania Larsson's handmade jewelry is a stunning blend of innovative design and traditional materials. In part three of our series on northern entrepreneurs, Larsson brings her unique glamour of Arctic materials and vintage beads to the world stage. Watch the video.

Why is B.C. home to more mining exploration companies than anywhere else on earth?

By Christopher Pollon

Most mining exploration companies have no producing assets or revenue streams, but generous B.C. tax breaks and other perks draw them in disproportionately high numbers. Read more.

Become a Narwhal Bill just became a monthly member of The Narwhal in April (thank you!). Be like Bill and join more than 700 readers who are making our independent journalism possible.

Old-growth logging leaves black bears without dens: biologist

By Sarah Cox
With no regulations protecting black bear dens in most parts of B.C., dens are vanishing along with old-growth forests. Meet biologist Helen Davis who's on a mission to make sure female bears and their cubs have homes. Read more.

Stung by derailed negotiations with B.C., Blueberry River First Nations return to court

By Christopher Pollon

Three-quarters of the nation's territory lies within 250 metres of an industrial disturbance. A potentially precedent-setting court case on this 'death by a thousand cuts' could disrupt B.C.'s multi-billion dollar natural gas industry. Read more.

The Narwhal in the world What we're listening to Get ready to sing your victory song! Contest to win that sweet surf print closes midnight tomorrow. Share your unique newsletter sign-up link for bonus entries! Donate Copyright © 2019 The Narwhal, All rights reserved.
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