Good news from the Chemical Valley, with British Petroleum (BP) pleading guilty to charges laid by the Ontario’s Ministry of Environment (MOE) for a sulphurous cloud released over Sarnia on March 27th, resulting in a $1 million fine.
This latest fine builds on this spring’s Suncor prosecution and $625,000 fine, and is the largest ever issued by this province under the Environmental Protection Act. This, along with the MOE’s raid of the BP plant back in August, we see the provincial government sending a strong message to Chemical Valley polluters.
The size of this fine is likely because of this particularly egregious case of industrial negligence:
Sarnia’s emergency control group was created to relay critical information to the public in an emergency. But on that day, despite twice asking the company for information, emergency officials were not kept in the loop, Sarnia’s mayor has said.
We’d like to think that the mounting pressure on these polluters, and on the MOE, was in part due to our Exposing Canada’s Chemical Valley report and other action we’ve taken with members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.
This research helped launch the Chemical Valley meme into the Canadian lexicon, and supported the amazing efforts of Aamjiwnaang community activists Ada Lockridge and Ron Plain in their efforts to build awareness of the environmental and human health crisis on their First Nations commmunity.
We hope to see more enforcement attention placed on this pollution hot spot and the many others around Ontario and Canada.