A provincial court judge has ruled that charges can move forward in the Lemon Creek jet fuel spill incident.

Lemon Creek spill case can move forward

Judge rules in favour of Marilyn Burgoon request to lay charges against the provincial government and Executive Flight Fuel Services Ltd.

A provincial court judge has ruled that the BC Government and Executive Flight Centre Fuel Services Ltd. can face charges in relation to the Lemon Creek fuel spill.

Approximately 33,000 litres of jet fuel was discharged into Lemon Creek and entered the Slocan River and Kootenay River on July 26, 2013. Charges were laid under the Fisheries Act against the provincial government and Executive Flight Fuel Services Ltd. by long time resident Marilyn Burgoon. However, before a summons could be issued, the evidence had to be reviewed by a judge.

On November 27, the court hearing was held in Nelson, before Judge Mayland McKimm.

Burgoon provided her evidence with respect to the allegations that both parties shared responsibility for the fuel entering Lemon Creek, flowing downstream into the Slocan River and Kootenay Rivers. A book of documentary material substantiating these allegations was provided to the Court by Lilina Lysenko, counsel for Burgoon. Todd Gerhart appeared as counsel for the Department of Justice.

“This is a very important victory for democracy,” Burgoon said. “This provincial court decision means that government and industry are still accountable for their actions in a court of law. Even when government and industry drag their feet to avoid investigation of environmental offences, justice can still prevail.

“This is an important step when using the Fisheries Act to protect British Columbia’s water, the fish and the habitat for fish species in the Slocan Valley.

“The Fisheries Act specifically provides for private prosecutions by individuals. In addition, the right of a private citizen to lay a charge is considered a fundamental part of Canada’s criminal justice system. If government is not going to apply the laws of Canada, it is up to the people to do so. I had no choice but to launch a private prosecution and let a judge review the evidence.”

West Coast Environmental Law provided funding for Burgoon’s legal counsel.

“I hope citizens throughout BC will be encouraged to exercise their right to lay a charge under the Fisheries Act,” Burgoon said. “It is a powerful piece of legislation which can hold industry and government accountable for their actions.”

A summons can now be issued and a court hearing date set in the new year.

The Ministry of Environment previously told the Star the conservation officer service conducted a “detailed investigation,” but “After careful consideration of all of the facts and circumstances which lead to the incident, no report to Crown counsel was forwarded and the investigation was closed.”

They ministry further said the evidence did not satisfy the criteria to recommend charges under the section of the Fisheries Act that Burgoon cites.

Just Posted

Ammonia leak shuts down Nelson Curling Club

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Four points for Fawcett as Leafs win 7th straight

Nelson edged the Fernie Ghostriders 4-3

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Seven Nelson rec projects granted Columbia Basin Trust funding

Nelson’s baseball and tennis clubs were the big winners

Sanchez leads Leafs to 6th straight win

Nelson held off Spokane 3-2 on Friday

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read