August 13, 2007

CN Rail charged over Cheakamus R caustic soda spill

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC-The Canadian National Railway (CN Rail) has been charged with five counts under the federal Fisheries Act and the British Columbia Environmental Management Act in connection with a spill of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) into the Cheakamus River following a drain derailment near Squamish, British Columbia on August 5, 2005. Environment Canada laid the charges following a joint investigation with the BC Ministry of Environment's Conservation Officer Service. Charges under subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act include one count of depositing a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish and one count of depositing a deleterious substance under conditions where it may enter water frequented by fish. Under the BC Environmental Management Act, CN is charged with: introducing a business waste, contrary to subsection 6(2) of the Act; introducing waste produced by a prescribed industry pursuant to subsection 6(3); and introducing waste and causing pollution, contrary to subsection 6(4). A first court date has been set for October 3, 2007 in North Vancouver. If convicted, the company faces fines ranging from up to $300,000 to a maximum of $1 million.

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