May 17, 2004

Buffalo Airways fined, ordered to fund training in proper paint stripping methods

RED DEER, ALTA-Buffalo Airways was levied a $50,000 penalty after pleading guilty to a charge of improper disposal of hazardous waste. In June 2002, Alberta Environment investigated complaints that the company, which operates an aircraft restoration and maintenance facility at the Red Deer Regional Airport, was spraying paint stripper containing methyl chloride onto an aircraft and allowing the paint stripping wastes to drain to the storm sewer system. Investigators inspected the facility, sampled wastes and determined that chemical contaminants from the paint stripper were released to the storm sewer. Other tenants of the airport complained of the airborne emissions from the spray. The company was charged under Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. In addition to a $10,000 fine, Buffalo Airways Ltd. was given a creative sentencing order for $40,000 to fund the development, in conjunction with the Buffalo School of Aviation, of a training program for individuals to learn proper aircraft paint stripping procedures.

Creative sentencing is designed to make penalties more meaningful and result in clear benefits for the environment. Coupled with a standard fine, creative sentences typically direct the offender to remedy or prevent harm to the environment or perform a community service. Under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, creative sentencing orders have been an option in Alberta since 1993.

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