ENVIRONMENT: Charges laid against Syncrude for bird deaths

FORT McMURRAY, Alberta - Environment Canada has charged Syncrude Canada Ltd. with one count under subsection 5.1(1)...

FORT McMURRAY, Alberta — Environment Canada has charged Syncrude Canada Ltd. with one count under subsection 5.1(1) of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) for allegedly depositing or permitting the deposit of a substance harmful to migratory birds in waters or an area frequented by birds.

 

The charge stems from an investigation initiated after approximately 500 waterfowl were found in the middle of a Syncrude tailings pond on April 28, 2008. Environment Canada officers investigated this incident along with Alberta Environment and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. Canada geese, diving and dabbler ducks are the main species of waterfowl found in the general area. All of the oiled birds died. This was the single largest reported incident of oiled birds in the oil sands region.

 

The maximum penalty on summary conviction for each offence is a fine of $300,000, or six months imprisonment, or both. First court appearance is set for March 25, 2009, in provincial court in Fort McMurray.

 

Syncrude asserts that is has co-operated with government officials throughout the investigation and continues to treat the matter very seriously.

 

The Environment Canada website is at www.EC.gc.ca.

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