Nova Scotia Power fined for oil spill

Nova Scotia Power Incorporated has been sentenced in the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia and ordered to pay $175,000 after pleading guilty to one charge under the Fisheries Act.

The charge relates to an oil spill into Tufts Cove (a part of the Halifax Harbour) that occurred on August 2, 2018. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

On August 3, 2018, ECCC enforcement officers responded to a report of a heavy oil spill at the Nova Scotia Power Incorporated Tufts Cove power generation facility.

The officers inspected the site of the spill and found what appeared to be oil on the rocks and in the water adjacent to the power plant. The officers collected samples for laboratory analysis, which concluded that the heavy oil spilled was deleterious to fish. Nova Scotia Power Incorporated stated the spill occurred after a corroded pipe failed.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

Environment and Climate Change Canada enforces the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.

A key provision in the pollution prevention provisions is subsection 36(3), which prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances in water frequented by fish, or in any place where the deleterious substance may enter any such water, unless the deposit of the substance is authorized by regulations.

Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by ECCC. The Fund helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to support projects that restore the natural environment and conserve wildlife. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements, usually investing in areas where the environmental damage occurred.