Environmental Protection

Canadian National Railway Paying Environmental Fines

The company has been ordered to pay $2.5 million, which will go into the Environmental Damages Fund. An additional fine of $125,000 was levied on May 25, 2017, on provincial charges from Alberta Environment and Parks under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

Canadian National Railway Company pleaded guilty June 15 to an offense under the Fisheries Act and three offenses under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and has been ordered to pay $2.5 million, which will go into the Environmental Damages Fund. An additional fine of $125,000 was levied on May 25, 2017, on provincial charges from Alberta Environment and Parks under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Environment and Climate Change Canada reported.

The case stems from April 2015, when Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers responded to a report of an oil sheen on the North Saskatchewan River. With assistance from the city of Edmonton's Drainage Services staff, Environment and Climate Change Canada officers traced the substance almost 5 miles through Edmonton's storm drain system to an engine fueling station at CN's Bissell Yard. A joint investigation with Alberta Environment and Parks determined that the oil-water separator and fuel storage system at that yard was not compliant with the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations and had caused an estimated 90 liters of diesel to be released to the storm sewer.

The railway company subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced for:

  • Deposit of a deleterious substance to fish-bearing water or to a place where it may enter fish-bearing water, in violation of the Fisheries Act, resulting in a $2 million penalty
  • Use of a centrifugal pump to transfer oil-contaminated water, in violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, resulting in a $150,000 penalty
  • Failure to keep an emergency plan readily available, in violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, resulting in a $100,000 penalty
  • Failure to withdraw and remove single-walled underground steel piping, in violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, resulting in a $250,000 penalty
  • Release of a substance that may cause a significant adverse effect and failure to all reasonable measures to remediate after a release to the environment, in violation of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, resulting in a $125,000 total penalty

In addition, the company was ordered to remove more than 1 mile of single-walled underground piping at a cost of approximately $750,000.

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