GN fined $100,000 for Hudson Bay fuel spill

More than 18,000 litres spilled in 2020 incident at Rankin Inlet high school

The Government of Nunavut was fined $100,000 over a fuel spill at a Rankin Inlet high school in 2020. (File photo)

By Meral Jamal

The Government of Nunavut has been fined $100,000 in connection to a fuel spill that occurred in Rankin Inlet in 2020, and was ordered to disclose details of the spill to Rankin Inlet residents.

The incident, which originated in a mechanical room at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik High School in Rankin Inlet, started on the afternoon of April 16, 2020 and continued until the next morning when it was reported, according to a press release from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

It said approximately 18,400 litres of diesel fuel spilled, eventually making its way into Hudson Bay. It found the spill was the result of human error, during a manual transfer of fuel. That volume of fuel is equivalent to what it would take to fill 370 passenger car fuel tanks.

The territorial government pleaded guilty to one offence for the spill under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act on April 14, according Environment and Climate Change Canada.

In addition to the $100,000 fine, the government was ordered to disclose the circumstances that led to the spill to Rankin Inlet residents and ensure all community members are aware of the incident and its potential impacts on the environment.

As a result of the plea, the government has also been asked to provide a report demonstrating all the mitigation measures it is taking, and to evaluate all government-owned buildings with federally regulated storage tank systems, the news release states.

The diesel fuel spill into Hudson Bay was identified after ECCC enforcement officers responded to information received through the Northwest Territories and Nunavut spill reporting website.

The $100,000 fine will be directed to the federal government’s Environmental Damages Fund to support projects that benefit the natural environment.

 

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