March 15, 2004

Firm levied $25K in penalties for drilling mud release

EDMONTON, ALTA-Canadian Horizontal Drilling (CHD) of Wetaskiwin, Alberta, was levied $25,000 in penalties after pleading guilty to a charge of violating subsection 36(3) of the federal Fisheries Act. In addition to a $2,500 fine,the company has been ordered to pay $2,500 toward Environment Canada's investigative costs and to contribute $20,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund. In December 2001, while CHD was installing a pipeline under Gunderson Creek for Anderson Exploration, drilling mud was released into Gunderson Creek, a spawning ground for bull trout. Drilling mud is harmful to fish and destroys fish habitat. Following an investigation, Environment Canada charged the company in December 2002 under subsection 36(3) of the Act, which protects fish-bearing waters from the deposit of any substance harmful to fish and aquatic life. As part of a creative sentencing process, CHD will submit an article to an industry publication describing what went wrong with this drilling project. CHD is also required to comply with voluntary industry guidelines for horizontal directional drilling which minimize the environmental impact of these activities. The Environmental Damages Fund to which the company will contribute is administered by Environment Canada and is used to help restore ecosystems. More information is available from Ryan Levitt of Environment Canada's environmental protection branch, 780/951-8631.
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