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BC Court Outlines Federal Fisheries Act Convictions

The British Columbia Supreme Court affirmed the reasoning of the Provincial Court trial judge that convicted a director, Mission Western Developments Ltd. and its director, Blake Larsen, of offenses under the federal Fisheries Act that occurred during land clearing operations near Wildebank Creek in Mission, British Columbia (R. v. Larsen, 2013 BCPC 92, affirmed 2014 BCSC 2084). In rejecting the appeal by the accused, the Supreme Court held that the Provincial Court judge had applied the correct legal principles for determining the necessary elements to obtain a conviction for impairment of fish habitat under the Fisheries Act. These principles were:

How Can Hazardous Wastes Be Treated?

After a facility determines it has generated hazardous waste, it must determine how to manage that waste in compliance with the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), regulations issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and their state equivalents. (I recently wrote about hazardous waste determination, here and here).

EPCRA Tier II: Key State Differences for Chemical Inventory Reporting

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EPA Proposes Stricter Standards For Ground Level Ozone in Ambient Air

The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create a list of air pollutants based on emissions that cause or contribute to air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.  EPA also sets air quality criteria for acceptable concentrations in ambient air, referred to as National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Christmas Trees Get Second Job as Fish Habitat

Could a Christmas tree find a second job?  Yes, as it matter of fact it can.  Every year in late December, early January and, in some cases, as late as February, certain researchers, environmental groups and wildlife agencies in North America begin sinking Christmas trees in lakes and ocean waters in the hopes of creating habitat for various types of fish.

Hazardous Chemicals: Our Communities Have the Right to Know

Our communities have the right to know when they are at risk of exposure to dangerous substances from accidental releases such as, but not limited to, chlorine, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, and sulfur dioxide. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agrees. In 1986 EPA created the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to help communities plan for just such emergencies. EPCRA requires that federal, state, and local governments, Indian tribes, and industries be prepared for hazardous chemical emergencies. It also requires facilities to follow all recordkeeping requirements and report the storage, use, and release of hazardous chemicals to federal, state, and local governments.

BC Supreme Court Affirms “Polluter Pays” for Site Remediation

By Graham Hardy & Kristen Brewer
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

The British Columbia Supreme Court has issued a significant decision in the area of contaminated sites, reiterating the “polluter pays” principle. On August 25, 2014, it ordered the defendant to reimburse the plaintiff $4.75 million for reasonable incurred remediation costs, the largest award of its kind to date.

To Frack Or Not To Frack? California and New York Provide Opposite Answers

Many readers will know that political and legal regulatory developments have lagged the technical developments in hydraulic fracturing and other enhanced oil and gas recovery techniques – “fracking.” Some jurisdictions focus on the jobs and taxes that result from resource extraction, while others focus on the potential environmental hazards.  As 2015 begins, we find California and New York – which typically agree on significant environmental policy questions – adopting opposite responses.

No More Lost Limbs Please! OSHA Agrees!

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its recordkeeping rule to expand the list of severe injuries (including amputations) that all employers must report. An increase in good reporting and recordkeeping is a best management practice and an essential part of helping employers ensure and maintain the safest working environments for their employees.

Chemical Safety Board Recommends Better Process Safety Management

Within the U.S., most chemical safety requirements are imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For example, OSHA (or delegated state agencies) administers a Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard, while EPA (or delegated state agencies) administers the Accidental Release Prevention (ARP) regulation. In addition to these sets of regulators, however, Congress has created a national agency to conduct independent investigations of major chemical accidents, and to issue accident-specific findings and specific or general recommendations for improved chemical handling and regulation. This agency’s formal name is the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board—which usually refers to itself as the Chemical Safety Board or CSB.

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