Department of National Defence fined $175,000 under Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

On June 22, 2020, the Canadian Department of National Defence pleaded guilty to one charge of contravening the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations. The Department was sentenced in the Provincial Court of Alberta in St. Paul and fined $175,000 for committing an offence under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, where it will be used to advance environmental and conservation projects often in the same community in which the offence was committed.

In addition to the fine, the Court ordered the Department of National Defence to complete a third-party environmental audit of the Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake and the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, including a review of the Department’s environmental-management systems to ensure compliance with environmental legislation.

The Department of National Defence Cold Lake Air Base is the busiest fighter base in Canada. It provides general purpose, multi-role, combat capable forces in support of domestic and international roles of Canada’s Air Force.

An investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers revealed that the Department of National Defence operated a storage tank system for which an identification number had not been issued. To ensure compliance and reduce the risk of releases of petroleum products into the environment, the Regulations require the owner or operator to identify their storage tank system and obtain an identification number for their system from the Minister of the Environment.

The purpose of the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations is to reduce the risk of contaminating soil and groundwater due to spills and leaks of petroleum products from storage tank systems.
The Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations establish requirements for systems under federal jurisdiction.