Minister of Environment Barry Penner has released the fourth Quarterly Compliance and Enforcement Summary for 2009, reporting on compliance and enforcement actions taken across the entire ministry between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2009, and has also reported on total fines for the entire year.
The summary outlines:
* Six orders issued to prevent or stop impacts to the environment, human health or safety.
* 102 administrative licensing sanctions taken against individual or commercial hunters or anglers for committing certain offences.
* 480 tickets.
* Ten court convictions.
These compliance actions resulted in a combined total of more than $280,000 in fines during the fourth quarter of 2009. The quarterly reports include all orders, administrative sanctions, tickets and court convictions of ministry legislation, including convictions taken by other government partners and agencies that involve ministry legislation.
For all of 2009, compliance and enforcement actions resulted in a total of 34 court convictions, 2,181 tickets, and more than $1.1 million in fines. Some of the most significant fines resulted from work conducted by Commercial Environmental Investigation Unit (CEIU). The CEIU focuses on environmental compliance, primarily related to commercial and industrial activities.
The most significant convictions and orders in 2009 include:
* Canadian National Railway Company (CN) received a penalty of $400,000 after pleading guilty to one count under the Federal Fisheries Act in relation to the derailment of a CN train into the Cheakamus River in August 2005. CN was ordered to pay $350,000 towards the conservation of fish habitat in the Squamish watershed. The derailment caused a release of 45,000 litres of sodium hydroxide that spilled into the river, killing approximately half a million fish.
* West Fraser Mills received a penalty of $130,000 after pleading guilty to one count of depositing a deleterious substance to water frequented by fish, caused by a spill at the Eurocan mill on June 21, 2007. West Fraser was ordered to pay $65,000 to the University of Northern British Columbia and $60,000 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat.
The investigation revealed that West Fraser had not been duly diligent in the maintenance of the mill's effluent treatment system, resulting in the spill of untreated effluent into a tributary of the Kitimat River.
* Walker Rook Addison was convicted in provincial court on five counts under the Wildlife Act for illegal hunting activities in a residential neighbourhood in Nanaimo in 2007. Addison received a fine of $8,495, forfeited his vehicle and was prohibited from hunting for ten years.
* Teck (formerly Teck Cominco Metals) was convicted in provincial court of introducing waste into the environment for a chemical spill that took place on May 28, 2008 in Trail. Teck was fined nearly $115,000, with $55,000 going to the Columbia River Integrated Environmental Monitoring Program, and another $55,000 going to the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative. This was the largest fine ever awarded on one count under the Environmental Management Act. Teck discharged 900 kilograms of lead refinery electrolyte and 360 litres of acid into the Columbia River following the failure of a heat-exchange unit at its lead and zinc refinery.
* Worthington Mackenzie was issued an emergency environmental order to prevent, lessen or control any potential hazard at the pulp mill site on Jan. 23, 2009. The order required the mill's owners to maintain the site in "warm shutdown mode" during the winter to minimize the potential for freezing and possible rupturing of pipes, tanks and other equipment. Failure to properly maintain the boiler temperatures at the mill would likely have caused the leakage or escape of poisonous and/or dangerous substances, including chlorine dioxide and caustic soda.
The public is encouraged to report environmental violations and human- wildlife conflicts that threaten public safety or result in significant property damage by calling 1-877 952-7277.
The Quarterly Compliance and Enforcement Summary is available at:http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/main/prgs/compliancereport.html