May 9, 2005

Appeal court upholds penalties for toxic release by Terroco

CALGARY, ALTA-Alberta's Court of Appeal has upheld a Court of Queen's Bench decision that Terroco Industries, an oilfield service company based in Red Deer, must pay a fine of $150,000 for releasing a substance causing a significant adverse effect. The Appeal Court also reinstated a $5,000 penalty for improper handling of dangerous goods. In May 2000 in the town of Consort, a representative of Terroco Industries mixed drums of a strong caustic agent with a highly concentrated acid, causing the release of a cloud of chlorine gas which seriously injured a nearby truck driver. The court found that "Terroco's conduct involved a significant degree of culpability. It chose to conduct its affairs in a cost effective way but did not properly consider that the inexperienced personnel placed the environment and the public at risk." Alberta Environment investigated the incident in co-operation with the Safety Services area of Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation and laid charges under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and the provincial Dangerous Goods Transportation and Handling Act.

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