Trucking company fined $175K for Lemon Creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

An aviation fuel company has pleaded guilty to spilling fuel into a mountain stream in the Slocan Valley seven years ago and handed a hefty fine by a provincial court judge.

Calgary-based Executive Flight Centre Fuel Services Ltd pleaded guilty last Friday to one count of a deleterious deposit into waters frequented by fish, under the Fisheries Act.

The company made the plea in Nelson Provincial Court and has been fined $175,000.

The majority of the fine — $165,000 – will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund to be used for fish habitat conservation efforts in the Slocan Valley, according to a release from the province’s conservation officers service.

The maximum fine at the time of the offence was $300,000.

SEE: Lemon Creek spill: driver guilty, provincial government acquitted

SEE: Lemon Creek fuel truck driver gets $20,000 fine

The ruling came after 35,000 litres of jet fuel was spilled into Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley, northwest of Nelson in 2013.

The spill contaminated the waterway that is a tributary of the Slocan River, led to residential evacuations and cost the trucking company approximately $5 million in clean-up costs.

The tanker truck full of fuel was destined for helicopters fighting a forest fire in the area.

The fuel truck driver, Danny Lasante, was earlier convicted of one count of introducing waste into environment causing pollution, contrary to section 6(4) under the Environmental Management Act and fined $20,000. Half of that fine is directed to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and due in 2021.

The multi-jurisdictional investigation into the spill included the B.C. Conservation Officer Service and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The Province of B.C. was acquitted of all charges related to the spill.

SEE: More appeals in Lemon Creek fuel spill case

The spill cause widespread concern in the rural Slocan Valley that the fuel had contaminated local drinking water supplies.

Walter Popoff, a local politician, says the event hit the community hard.

“Initally it was a major impact,” says Popoff. “There were concerns about the water, effect on crops, health effects, so it had a major, major impact.

“But as we worked through it, most of the issues were resolved, and the concerns were addressed. We moved forward.”

The justice was served a month too late for one of the principal activists who pushed for criminal prosecutions in the case.

Marilyn Burgoon launched a rare private-prosecution, which was eventually taken over by the federal government.

Burgoon passed away in January.

SEE: Prominent Slocan Valley activist dies



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Environment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Convoy of essential service vehicles visits Nelson hospital and care homes

The event was meant as a thank you to front-line workers

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read