CNRL charged for leak at Horizon site in Fort McMurray
EDMONTON – The Government of Alberta has laid 11 charges against Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) after a leak at its Fort McMurray Horizon site in August 2012.
On Aug. 2, 2012, hydrogen sulphide gas was released from the Horizon upgrader facility.
The government started an investigation after hearing complaints from people in Fort MacKay, and after high air readings were reported.
CNRL is facing 11 charges under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, including:
- release of a substance causing a significant adverse effect;
- failure to ensure complete combustion at the flare stack, release of an unapproved substance, and failure to report approval contraventions;
- providing misleading information to the Director and the Fort McKay First Nation; and,
- failing to properly report the contravention and release to the Director and the Fort McKay First Nation.
Each charge carries the possibility of a fine up to $500,000.
“We’re glad to see that two years later, the Alberta Energy Regulator is finally laying charges in what could have been a very serious incident,” said Mike Hudema with Greenpeace Canada.
“The fact CNRL not only released a deadly gas, but allegedly misled Fort McKay First Nation about it, is deeply troubling and begs the question of whether monetary fines go far enough. This incident does show that industry needs much heavier oversight, and the policy of simply trusting oil companies to do the right thing has to end once and for all.”
“The Government of Alberta has a strong regulatory system in place that protects the environment along with the health and safety of Albertans,” said Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Robin Campbell. “Our government takes this responsibility seriously and companies that do not meet these standards will be held accountable.”
“Our ability to open new markets for our oil – or to maintain the markets we have today – depends on our credibility when it comes to responsible oil sands development.”
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