Spills, spill reporting, spill cleanup, spill consequences

Appeal Court Rejects Pollution Exclusion in Oil Overflow

In O’Byrne et al. v. Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company (Lindsay), 2014 ONCA 543, the Ontario Court of Appeal has forced an insurer to pay for a fuel oil cleanup after a spill, despite a pollution exclusion clause.

Waterkeepers want notice of sewage bypasses

Congratulations to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper for their innovative application to the Ontario Environmental Commissioner, to force Toronto to give public notice when it bypasses sewage into Lake Ontario due to wet weather- about three times a month.

Federal Court sends new nuclear reactor back to environmental assessment panel

In a decision released May 14, 2014, the Federal Court of Canada concluded that aspects of a Joint Panel Review (JPR) decision under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for a new nuclear reactor in Ontario were “unreasonable”.

Huge manure spill fines: $120,000 plus surcharge

Two hog farming businesses and a Director must pay manure spill fines of $120,000, plus $30,000 victim fine surcharges, for discharging pig manure into the Thames River and Sweets Creek. The manure impaired the quality of water, contrary to the Ontario Water Resources Act. The individual Director also pleaded guilty and was fined for failing to…

Another fine for not reporting flyrock as environmental discharge

Last year, Castonguay Blasting lost its appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada against a conviction for failing to report flyrock as an environmental “discharge” under the Environmental Protection Act. Now they have been fined $75,000 for essentially the same offence on another occasion. The second incident occurred in 2010, well after they were charged…

Ecuador oil pollution claim can try again to collect from Chevron in Canada

Indigenous Ecuadorian villagers can try again to enforce a controversial $18 billion environmental damage award against Texaco (now merged with Chevron Corp., one of the world’s largest corporations) in Canada. This is part of a worldwide legal battle between the villagers, seeking to collect the money and have the pollution cleaned up, and Chevron, which argues that…

Quebec court strikes down municipal anti-fracking bylaw

A Quebec court has struck down a Gaspe municipal bylaw that tried to prevent exploratory oil wells being drilled and fracked uncomfortably close to its drinking water supply. The court ruled that the bylaw was invalid because it prevented Petrolia Inc. from carrying out drilling specifically authorized by the province. 

De-polluting end of life vehicles, at last?

After years of effort by Ontario’s mainstream auto recyclers, in cooperation with automobile manufacturers, the Ministry of the Environment is getting close to a permit-by-rule system for recycling end of life vehicles. Given the elaborate market that already exists for vehicle recycling, this is far better than the MOE’s standard “extended producer responsibility” model for…

London fined $20,000 for wastewater plant spill

The City of London was fined $20,000, plus the 25% victim fine surcharge, for breaching its Ministry of the Environment approval for a wastewater treatment plant, contrary to the Ontario Water Resources Act.

Regulators of fracking negligent? Alberta case cut down

Can energy and environmental regulators be successfully sued if they allow fracking to contaminate drinking water? Jessica Ernst is trying with her lawsuit against EnCana, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and the Alberta government for the contamination of her property and drinking water due to EnCana’s fracking program. But she has just had a…

Another environmental conviction for Ministry of Transportation

In an unusual turn of events, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation has had two Fisheries Act convictions this fall: one for road construction and design, the other for road maintenance.

Supreme Court upholds Castonguay: “When in doubt, report”

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected Castonguay’s appeal of its conviction for failing to report, to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, a fly rock incident during road construction.  They were fined $25,000 plus the 25% victim fine surcharge. This decision greatly expands the types of incidents that must now be reported to environmental…