Province handed out $4 million in environmental fines in 2016

Alaska Highway News staff

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Trucks hauling earth on the north bank of the Site C dam earlier this year | Alaska Highway News

British Columbia handed out more than $4 million in environmental penalties and tickets in 2016.

Environment ministry data released today shows officers handed out 2,201 tickets and nearly 300 administrative sanctions and penalties against industry and the public for violations last year. There were another 37 environmental orders issued and another 64 court convictions.

Environmental officers issued five orders to BC Hydro for violating the terms of its Site C environmental certificate and respective construction mitigation plans.

Those include three orders between April 1 and June 30, 2016, for failing to meet requirements of its waste management and spill prevention plans. Hydro was issued orders to properly segregate and dispose of recyclables and waste material, implement measures to control and clean up leaks and spills of hydrocarbon material, and adhere to measures to control runoff water and sediment in and adjacent to a ravine during the dam’s construction.

Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, officers issued two orders to BC Hydro for failing to minimize impacts to amphibians and properly monitor water quality.

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The utility was ordered to begin monitoring water quality in potentially affected wells twice per year, for a period of 10 years, which should have started at the outset of construction in summer 2015. It was also issued an order to minimize construction impacts on amphibians on and about roads servicing the project’s various construction sites.

Other enforcement highlights

Quarter 1 — Jan. 1 to March 1

Four orders, 44 sanctions, 279 tickets and 25 court convictions were handed down, with penalties totalling $3.5 million.

Much of those penalties were levied against Teck Metals, which saw a $3.4 million fine for unauthorized zinc and caustic solution discharges at one of its mines near Trail. Teck was ordered to pay $3 million to the federal Environmental Damages Fund, $390,000 to the B.C. Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and $11,500 in fines and victim surcharges to the B.C. provincial court.

Most of the environmental tickets issued in the Peace Region this quarter were for mostly for illegal hunting and fishing, including killing wildlife not in open season and fishing with prohibited gear and bait.

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Quarter 2 — April 1 to June 30

Sixteen orders, 73 sanctions, 550 tickets, four penalties, and 23 court convictions were handed out, with penalties totalling $232,000.

Environmental tickets issued in the Peace Region this quarter were mostly for violating fire restrictions, failing to produce licence or permits, operating unlicensed boats, killing wildlife not in open season, and fishing with prohibited gear and bait.

Quarter 3 — July 1 to Sept. 30

Ten orders, 68 sanctions, 596 tickets, one penalty, and five court convictions were handed out, with penalties totalling $148,000.

Officers issued two orders to the Meikle Wind Energy partnership in Tumber Ridge during inspections. The company was ordered to implement and maintain mitigation measures to prevent or reduce the potential for erosion and sedimentation, and ordered to implement mitigation measures to prevent the potential for bear-human conflict by managing wildlife attractants.

780 HWY 2 Investments Inc. was issued an order under the Water Sustainability act for unauthorized works constructed in and about a tributary to Dawson Creek.

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Environmental tickets issued in the Peace Region this quarter were mostly for fishing and hunting without a licence, hunting wildlife not in open season, unlawful possession of dead wildlife, and carrying loaded firearms in vehicles.

Quarter 4 — Oct. 1 to Dec. 31

Seven orders, 106 sanctions, 776 tickets, 3 penalties, and 11 court convictions were handed down, with penalties totalling $251,000.

Environmental tickets issued in the Peace Region this quarter were mostly for fishing and hunting without a licence, unlicensed off-road vehicles, unlawful possession of dead wildlife, and failing to report the killing of game by accident or protection.

The Laprairie Group was fined $345 for disturbing or destroying a beaver house, den, or dam.

editor@ahnfsj.ca