March 12, 2017 by John Nicholson
Valero Energy Inc., Jean Gaulin Refinery (formerly Ultramar Ltd.) based Lévis, Quebec, recently pleaded guilty to six environmental offences and it was sentenced by a judge to pay the sum of $500,000. The company was order to pay a $120,000 fine for failing to comply with an order issued by an officer from Environment Canada and Climate Change (the Canadian equivalent to the U.S. EPA), thereby committing an offence under paragraph 40(3)(g) of the Fisheries Act. The court also ordered the company to pay the sum of $380,000, pursuant to paragraph 79.2(f), for the financial benefits it obtained through these violations.
An investigation conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) found that Valero Energy Inc. – Jean Gaulin Refinery had failure to comply with a directive issued by ECCC requiring rehabilitation and environmental monitoring work issued following the deposit of a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish.
ECCC enforcement officers conduct inspections and investigations to verify compliance with the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act. They ensure that regulated organizations are in compliance with environmental legislation.
As a result of this conviction, Valero Energy Inc. will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations obtained under certain federal environmental laws. The registry contains convictions obtained for offences committed since June 18, 2009 – when the Environmental Enforcement Act received Royal Assent.
The total amount of the fine will be deposited in the Environmental Damages Fund, which is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Environmental Damages Fund, administered by ECCC and established in 1995, provides a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our environment.