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The Quebec legislature building is shown in this file photo.JACQUES BOISSINOT/The Canadian Press

The Quebec government will pay $20.5-million to Petrolia as part of its plan to end oil development on Anticosti Island.

The province's Energy and Natural Resources Department said in a statement Thursday the compensation deal is based on public interest.

In late July, the government announced it was halting oil and gas exploration on the island and was negotiating with several companies to get them to abandon their research rights.

The decision was made to protect the island's natural character and in support of its bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With deals that have already been reached with Junex, Corridor and Maurel & Prom, the total compensation is more than $61-million.

British Columbia’s NDP government is seeking to join legal challenges to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Environment Minister George Heyman admits fighting the federally approved project will be difficult.

The Canadian Press

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