Shell Canada fined $225,000 after pleading guilty to federal charges

PEACE RIVER, Alta. -- June 12, 2012 -- Shell Canada Limited today pleaded guilty in Peace River Provincial Court to federal charges laid by Environment Canada for releasing a substance harmful to fish into fish-bearing waters. The company was fined a total of $225,000.

The plea was entered on one count under the federal Fisheries Act for a contravention of the prohibition against the deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish. The offence relates to the spill of a chemical solution containing mainly sodium bisulfite into the Peace River on August 28, 2009. The release was caused by a drain valve being left open on a chemical tank system while it was being filled. The open drain valve emptied approximately 12,500 litres of the chemical into the Peace River, which is frequented by fish. Sample analysis conducted on the chemical determined that it was harmful to fish.

The company was fined $22,500 for the offence and was also ordered to pay $202,500 to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) to be used to promote the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat in the Peace River. The Peace River is one of the largest rivers in Alberta and supports 15 regularly occurring fish species and 5 rare ones, including Bull Trout, a fish listed by the Alberta Endangered Species Conservation Committee as a "Species of Special Concern". It also supports both First Nation subsistence fishing, and sport fishing.

The Environmental Damages Fund supports the "Polluter Pays Principle". It provides judges and prosecutors with an effective and innovative mechanism for responding to environmental damage, thus ensuring that environmental good can result from environmental harm.

Environment Canada has created a subscription service to help the public stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment. Subscribing to Environment Canada’s Enforcement Notifications is easy, and free. Sign up today.

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Environment Canada

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