Teck Resources Challenges $16M Fine for Stream Pollution

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Teck Resources contests a $16 million fine for pollution of watercourses

Teck Resources has been fined for various offenses that led to the dumping of pollutants into waterways in the Elk Valley. (File photo)

Vancouver-based mining company Teck Resources is seeking a reduction in fines totaling more than $16 million received for polluting waterways in the Elk Valley.

Teck Coal, a subsidiary of Teck Resources, was fined for failing to install water treatment facilities in time at Fording River and for exceeding pollutant discharge limits at its operations around Sparwood.

Teck's request for reduced fines is not surprising, says Wyatt Petryshen, a researcher specializing in mining policy and the impacts of this industry at the environmental body Wildsight.

He believes, however, that these fines are significant, as are the policies that led to them. The purpose of the fines is precisely to prevent the mining companies from continuing to damage the environment, he explains.

The organization for which he works believes that this case is a reminder furthermore the importance of having an external perspective on regulation and its implementation.

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The pollution of rivers in the Elk Valley prompts the question of whether to create an international commission on watersheds, notes Wyatt Petryshen. It highlights the importance of bringing stakeholders from different groups together at the same table to succeed in improving water quality.

Such a commission is also what the Ktunaxa Nation is asking for for several years.

That an organization that is not involved in the case comes to the same conclusions as us at least allows us to think that our voice has been heard, explains Kathryn Teneese, the president of that nation's council.

The idea of ​​an international commission was shelved by Ottawa last year, however. Teck, for his part, has expressed reservations, arguing that funds spent on such an organization should instead be reinvested in the community.

With information from Corey Bullock

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