March 29 - April 5, 2004

Abitibi-Consolidated ordered to upgrade Grand Falls mill as part of conviction penalty

ST JOHN'S, NFLD-LAB-Abitibi-Consolidated pleaded guilty on March 30 to federal charges under the Fisheries Act and was fined $10,000. A provincial court judge also ordered the company to contribute $100,000 to Canada's Environmental Damages Fund and to commission and pay for all work needed to ensure that its Grand Falls Windsor paper mill meets the requirements of the Fisheries Act. The required upgrades could cost as much as $7 million. A compliance order issued by the court details the work that must be done, lays out a strict timetable for the work, and calls for penalties if deadlines are not met. All the mill upgrades are to be complete by the end of November 2004. The judge's decision followed a joint prosecution-defence submission. Abitibi-Consolidated had originally faced six charges, three of which were dropped. Two of the remaining charges were related to violations of general prohibitions of the Fisheries Act. The other charge stemmed from violations of the pulp and paper effluent regulations under the Fisheries Act. The money awarded to the Environmental Damages Fund will be used to fund environmental projects related to the Exploits River. More information is available from Neil Codner at Environment Canada, 709/772-2065.
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