November 5, 2018 By P&PC Staff
November 5, 2018 – Irving Pulp & Paper Limited was ordered to pay a $3.5 million penalty after being sentenced today in connection with three offences under the federal Fisheries Act.
The New Brunswick Provincial Court in Saint John rendered the decision, which was the maximum allowable penalty.
The fine is one of the largest penalties to be levied in Canada as a result of an environmental violation. Of the total fine, $2.34 million will be directed to the Canadian government’s Environmental Damages Fund. The Environmental Damages Fund was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit the natural environment.
The remaining $1.16 million will be directed to the University of New Brunswick, with the funds to be used by the University’s Canadian Rivers Institute to conduct scientific research and support projects related to the conservation, protection and restoration of Atlantic salmon in New Brunswick.
In addition to the penalty, the company is now under a direction pursuant to the Fisheries Act. Under the direction, Irving Pulp & Paper is required to provide a plan that clearly identifies the interim measures to be taken and that describes how the company will work toward the commissioning of a new effluent treatment system. The company has committed to a major investment in constructing the new effluent treatment facility within the next five years.
Irving Pulp & Paper Limited has already provided a five-year plan to Environment and Climate Change Canada, describing timelines and information pertaining to various conventional treatment systems and is required to provide progress reports twice per year.
The charges stem from several incidents that occurred between June 2014 and August 2016, when improperly treated and deleterious effluent was released from one of three outfall structures, all of which deposit into the Saint John River. The discharges were reported to Environment and Climate Change Canada by the company, as is required under the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations.
The Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations require that a pulp and paper mill owner or operator regularly monitor mill effluent and report the results to the designated Environment and Climate Change Canada authorization officer. The regulations also require that the mill owner or operator notify without delay an Environment and Climate Change Canada–appointed inspector of any effluent test results that indicate a failure or non-compliance with the regulations.
As a result of this conviction, Irving Pulp & Paper Limited will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry, which contains information on convictions of corporations under certain federal environmental laws.
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