Environmental Violations Lead to Fines

Posted by on Nov 12, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Environmental violations and the subsequent penalties can take months or years to “settle.”  When the violation is of federal environmental laws, there is the potential prospect of getting your name added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

According to the Government of Canada, “The registry includes convictions of corporations obtained through court proceedings.  Court prosecutions are one of several enforcement measures that may be used when violations or potential violations are detected.”

Two of the three summaries below resulted in companies being added to the Registry.  The third summary is still unresolved.

Mining Company Fined $350,000

Breakwater Resources Limited, which operates the Langlois Mine (primarily zinc and copper), pleaded guilty in the Val d’Or courthouse to one count of violating the Fisheries Act.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, there was discharge (from the mine) of “acutely lethal effluent” into the Wedding River.

The mine is located in a remote area of Quebec (Lebel–sur–Quévillon).  Langlois mining spilled 500 litres of flocculent from their mining site.  This discharge was into water frequented by fish and was a violation of subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act.  In December 2019, the mine ceased production.

Details regarding the spill (nature, extent, contaminants, etc.) were not provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada.  However, the result of the violation was a $350,000 fine, and Langlois’ name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Pipe discharging into water

A discharge of  “acutely lethal effluent” into the Wedding River led to a six-figure fine (Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay).

Violation of the PCB Regulations Results in Fines

After pleading guilty, two companies in Quebec were fined a total of $75,000 for violation of the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

The two companies fined were 150 Montréal-Toronto Inc. and Recydem Enviro Inc.

Environment and Climate Change Canada reports, “150 Montréal-Toronto Inc. commissioned Recydem Enviro Inc. to manage their equipment containing PCBs.  During an inspection on February 20, 2015, enforcement officers from Environment and Climate Change Canada discovered that equipment containing PCBs was being used and stored on the premises.”

150 Montréal-Toronto Inc. was fined $50,000 and Recydem Enviro Inc. was fined $25,000 after.

As a result of this conviction, the companies’ names will be listed in the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Human Error at Diamond Mine

Human error is to blame for the spill of diesel fuel at a now-idled Diamond mine owned by De Beers Inc. Canada (Snap Mine in the Northwest Territories).  The spill is a violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

The incident occurred in December 2017 when a valve was left open on a diesel tank during refueling.  In dispute is how much product was spilled.

According to a report by the CBC, “De Beers reported to the territory’s Spill Line that at least 500 litres of diesel had spilled, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  ‘An estimated volume of 5,903 litres of diesel is suspected to have been released into the environment,’ wrote Michelle Peters, De Beers’ environment and asset superintendent for Snap Lake mine, in a letter to the board.”

The report goes on to say, “The diesel had absorbed into the snow and soil.  Affected snow was shoveled into drums, but it is ‘assumed’ that much of it was absorbed into the soil, as there was no pooling or ‘free diesel product’ observed, according to Peters.”

The next court date is scheduled for January 26, 2021.

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