Charges laid against Canadian National Railway in relation to August 2005 sodium hydroxide spill into the Cheakamus River

    NORTH VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Environment Canada has, as a
result of a joint investigation with the British Columbia (B.C.) Conservation
Officer Service, Ministry of Environment, laid charges under the Fisheries Act
and the B.C. Environmental Management Act against the Canadian National
    The company has been charged with a total of five counts: one count of
depositing a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish pursuant to
subsection 36(3) of the federal Fisheries Act, one count of depositing a
deleterious substance under conditions where it may enter water frequented by
fish pursuant to subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, one count of
introducing a business waste pursuant to subsection 6(2) of the British
Columbia Environmental Management Act, one count of introducing waste produced
by a prescribed industry pursuant to subsection 6(3) of the B.C. Environmental
Management Act and one count under subsection 6(4) of the Environmental
Management Act for introducing waste and causing pollution.
    The charges stem from the August 5, 2005 train derailment near Squamish,
B.C. which resulted in sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), a deleterious
substance, being spilled into the Cheakamus River.
    A date for first appearance in Provincial Court has been set for
October 3, 2007 in North Vancouver, B.C.
    First offences under subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act are punishable
on summary conviction by a fine of up to $300,000. Indictable offences can
result in a maximum $1,000,000 fine. Upon conviction, a variety of
discretionary Court Orders are also available.
    The British Columbia Environmental Management Act provides for maximum
penalties of up to $1,000,000 per count.
    Environment Canada's Environmental Enforcement officers investigate
alleged offences under a number of Acts and Regulations including the federal
Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Environment
Canada works with its partner agencies, such as the B.C. Ministry of
Environment, to ensure efficient and effective enforcement of Canada's
pollution prevention laws and to ensure that companies and their officials,
government departments and their officials and the general public comply with
legislation and regulations that protect Canada's environment.

    (Egalement offert en français)

For further information:

For further information: Micheline Brodeur, Regional Communications
Advisor, Environment Canada, (604) 713-9539; John Dyck, Manager,
Investigations Section (Vancouver), Environment Canada, (604) 666-3647; Kate
Thompson, Manager, Media Relations, Ministry of Environment, (250) 889-7972

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