LEMON CREEK FUEL SPILL TRIAL DELAYED

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In 2013 a tanker truck accident spilled 33,000 litres of jet fuel spilled into the Lemon Creek. The public needs to wait a little longer before the trial continues. — The Nelson Daily file photo
The trial on charges stemming from an aviation fuel spill in the Slocan Valley in 2013 is promising to be a long and complicated one.
The trial resumed in Nelson on Tuesday- only to be put off for at least two more months.
Crown counsel John Cliffe told Judge Phillip Seagram the Crown intends to call about 65 witnesses to establish their case.
It’s going to take time to get the material associated with all those witnesses out to defence attorneys.
Seagram agreed to put off the trial until at least December 6, with a short check in November to bring all parties up to date on the preparations.
The Executive Flight Centre, one of its employees, and the provincial government are all co-defendants in the case, begun after a tanker truck carrying aviation fuel up a logging road in the Slocan Valley tipped over and spilled 33,000 litres of fuel into Lemon Creek in July 2013.
The spill killed fish and wildlife downstream, and affected shallow wells of residents living in the area.  Residents were also forced to evacuate their homes while the cleanup took place.
It took nearly three years for charges to be laid, and only came after a local activist, Marilyn Burgoon, successfully laid private criminal charges against the defendants. Her win in court prompted the federal government to lay charges in July.
Burgoon said she was happy to hear the Crown is preparing to present so many witnesses for the prosecution.
“I’m glad they’re doing a good job on the investigation and prosecution,” she told reporters after Tuesday’s hearing. “It’s something I never could have done, it would have been too costly and lengthy- and I can’t access what the government can access in terms of information.”
The defendants have been charged with two counts of “depositing a deleterious substance in a water frequented by fish” under the Fisheries Act. The penalty on conviction is a minimum of $5,000 for an individual and $100,000 for the government or a company.

There are also six counts of “introducing waste into a stream causing pollution” under the Environmental Management Act. The maximum penalty set out in the Act is a $1-million fine or six months in jail.
The defendants have not made their pleas in the case.
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Families reach $10 million settlement with Grandy Lake Forest Associates over deadly 2014 Landslide

Families reach $10 million settlement with Grandy Lake Forest Associates over deadly 2014 landslide Families reach $10 million settlement with Grandy Lake Forest Associates over deadly 2014 landslide

The Perry Ridge Water Users Association continues to work to avoid such a tragedy on the unstable slopes in the Slocan Valley. 
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BC Rivers Day 2016

bc-rivers-day-2016-poster

The Geological History of the Slocan and Kootenay Basin presented by Lesley Anderton at the Harrop Community Hall on BC Rivers Day September 25th.

If you missed the Nakusp or Slocan Presentation“The Geological History of the Slocan and Kootenay Basins” presented by Lesley Anderton or you would like to see it again, you have another opportunity on BC Rivers Day at the Harrop Community Hall. . There will be an opening by Sinixt Matriarch, at 12:00, a luncheon (by donation) and an educational visual slide presentation, concluding with a field trip to Kootenay Lake. Everyone welcome and tourists, in particular can learn the amazing geological history of this area of British Columbia. Rock climbers will also be interested in the information about the rocks in this area.

The presentation teaches the geological history going back millions of years, which includes the formation of continents and in particular it teaches about the various rock formations and mountains in the area. It explains what these rocks tell us about the history of the mountains, water and land formations. This presentation deepens our connection to this place and our knowledge of the landscapes that surrounds us, supports our survival, and provides a significant portion of hydroelectric power to the rest of the Province. .

Many of you will already know Lesley Anderton, retired Instructor from Selkirk College. Ms. Anderton grew up in Lancashire in the north of England where she came to love the outdoors. Having gained a BA (Hons) degree in Geology and Geography from Keele, she won a Commonwealth Scholarship to study at UBC. After completing her master’s degree with a thesis entitled ‘The Quaternary Stratigraphy and Geomorphology of the Lower Thompson Valley’ she returned to work in England at Malham Tarn Field Centre in the Yorkshire Dales. In 1969 Lesley began her 35 year career at Selkirk College, where she taught first and second year geology and geography courses and developed the ‘Geology, Landforms and Soils’ course for renewable resources technology students. In addition she developed a first year Environmental Science Course for non-science majors. In the summers she frequently worked on terrain analysis mapping with Dr June Ryder. Some of you may recall Dr. June Ryder from her work locally, “Geological Hazards of the Perry Ridge Benchlands”and her grave concerns about several aspects of the potential effects of logging the Perry Ridge uplands www.perryridge.org

Ms. Anderton has always been interested in sharing her love of the natural environment with non geologists and enjoys giving talks on local geology and leading field trips. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and cross country skiing as well as visiting polar latitudes. The appeal of Lesley Anderton has been demonstrated over the decades as a much loved Geology instructor at Selkirk College and her knowledge is extensive, and irreplaceable. We invite attendees to bring their film equipment so that this presentation may be filmed for future reference (see advertisement in this issue of Pennywise and in the Nelson Star next week. Thank you to the RDCK Area E Discretionary Fund.

We look forward to seeing you and celebrating BC and World Rivers Day.

Submitted by Perry Ridge Water Users Association

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A reminder that the Lemon Creek case will begin Tuesday, September 13th 9:30 at the Nelson Court House

A reminder that Tuesday, September 13th 9:30 at the Nelson Court House the Lemon Creek case will begin and your presence is important if you can make it to show our support for Justice for Lemon Creek. West Coast Environmental Law Staff Counsel wrote the following as a review of the case. We hope to see you there.

Government charges (finally) laid in Lemon Creek jet fuel spill – thanks to private prosecution
29 July, 2016

Photo courtesy of Valley Voice
In 2013 a jet fuel truck operated by Executive Flight Centre, and servicing BC Ministry of Forests firefighting efforts, plunged off a road in the Slocan Valley, crashing into the pristine Lemon Creek and dumping 33,000 litres into the river, compromising drinking water and killing fish. The province investigated, concluding that no charges were warranted. The case would have been closed, but for the efforts of Marilyn Burgoon, a resident of the Slocan Valley, with a little help from our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund. When the province wouldn’t act, Marilyn laid her own charges – a course of action that led directly to a federal government appointed prosecutor laying new charges last Friday (July 22nd) against both Executive Flight Centre and the BC Government.

As the Nelson Star reports:

The federal government has decided to lay eight charges against Executive Flight Centre stemming from the fuel spill in 2013 when the company’s tanker truck overturned into Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley, spilling 33,000 litres of fuel. Also named as defendants are the provincial government and the driver of the fuel truck, Danny LaSante.

Court documents filed last week show two counts of “depositing a deleterious substance in a water frequented by fish” under the FisheriesAct. The penalty on conviction is a minimum of $5,000 for an individual and $100,000 for the government or a company.

There are also six counts of “introducing waste into a stream causing pollution” under the EnvironmentalManagementAct. The maximum penalty set out in the Act is a $1-million fine or six months in jail.

West Coast is proud to have played an important role in getting charges laid and the potential for justice for Lemon Creek. When Marilyn first contacted us about the province’s failure to lay charges, we put her in touch with the lawyers who became her legal team – Lilina Lysenko and Jeff Jones (the latter having handled private prosecutions for Alexandra Morton). We also provided some of the funding that allowed her to lay charges under the Fisheries Act against Executive Flight Centre and the government. Marilyn was able to convince a BC provincial court judge to issue the charges and order the defendants to respond.

Thousands of British Columbians also wrote to the federal government urging them to take over the case and lay charges. It now appears that those voices were heard! 

The broader context

We shouldn’t be all celebration – however. The Lemon Creek charges raise fundamental questions about why Marilyn had to work so hard to get charges laid in a dramatic and high profile spill. Although the charges are yet more evidence that private prosecutions can be an important environmental law tool – in an ideal world the government, not private citizens, should be laying charges.

In actual fact we’ve seen drops in environmental charges being laid at both the federal and provincial (BC) levels, and the Lemon Creek example suggests that this is because governments are failing to lay charges – rather than that there’s no serious environmental harm occurring. Cuts to field staff, changes to the law and perhaps ideological motivations all play a role in this chronic non-enforcement of our environmental laws.

We should all press our governments to reverse these troubling trends, but in the meantime citizens will increasingly consider turning to private prosecutions when the government doesn’t step up to the plate. At least one person retweeted our tweet about the Lemon Creek charges, adding a#MountPolley hashtag – a reference to the fact that charges have yet to be laid in relation of the Mount Polley mine disaster.

Marilyn and her lawyers have shown us that a determined individual acting on behalf of her community can get some environmental justice. Congratulations once again, Marilyn. 

By Andrew Gage, Staff Counsel

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THE GLADE CREEK WATERSHED RESERVE: NO “MISNOMER” / NOT “JUST A NAME”

- Will Koop, BC Tap Water Alliance

http://www.bctwa.org/GladeReserve-Aug30-2016.pdf

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Norway- The First Coutry to Ban Deforestation

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Goverment Charges Laid – Lemon Creek Fuel Spill

Marilyn…

Government charges (finally) laid in Lemon Creek jet fuel spill – thanks to private prosecution
29 July, 2016

Photo courtesy of Valley Voice
In 2013 a jet fuel truck operated by Executive Flight Centre, and servicing BC Ministry of Forests firefighting efforts, plunged off a road in the Slocan Valley, crashing into the pristine Lemon Creek and dumping 33,000 litres into the river, compromising drinking water and killing fish. The province investigated, concluding that no charges were warranted. The case would have been closed, but for the efforts of Marilyn Burgoon, a resident of the Slocan Valley, with a little help from our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund. When the province wouldn’t act, Marilyn laid her own charges – a course of action that led directly to a federal government appointed prosecutor laying new charges last Friday (July 22nd) against both Executive Flight Centre and the BC Government.

As the Nelson Star reports:

The federal government has decided to lay eight charges against Executive Flight Centre stemming from the fuel spill in 2013 when the company’s tanker truck overturned into Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley, spilling 33,000 litres of fuel. Also named as defendants are the provincial government and the driver of the fuel truck, Danny LaSante.

Court documents filed last week show two counts of “depositing a deleterious substance in a water frequented by fish” under the FisheriesAct. The penalty on conviction is a minimum of $5,000 for an individual and $100,000 for the government or a company.

There are also six counts of “introducing waste into a stream causing pollution” under the Environmental Management Act. The maximum penalty set out in the Act is a $1-million fine or six months in jail.

West Coast is proud to have played an important role in getting charges laid and the potential for justice for Lemon Creek. When Marilyn first contacted us about the province’s failure to lay charges, we put her in touch with the lawyers who became her legal team – Lilina Lysenko and Jeff Jones (the latter having handled private prosecutions for Alexandra Morton). We also provided some of the funding that allowed her to lay charges under the Fisheries Act against Executive Flight Centre and the government. Marilyn was able to convince a BC provincial court judge to issue the charges and order the defendants to respond.

Thousands of British Columbians also wrote to the federal government urging them to take over the case and lay charges. It now appears that those voices were heard! 

The broader context

We shouldn’t be all celebration – however. The Lemon Creek charges raise fundamental questions about why Marilyn had to work so hard to get charges laid in a dramatic and high profile spill. Although the charges are yet more evidence that private prosecutions can be an important environmental law tool – in an ideal world the government, not private citizens, should be laying charges.

In actual fact we’ve seen drops in environmental charges being laid at both the federal and provincial (BC) levels, and the Lemon Creek example suggests that this is because governments are failing to lay charges – rather than that there’s no serious environmental harm occurring. Cuts to field staff, changes to the law and perhaps ideological motivations all play a role in this chronic non-enforcement of our environmental laws.

We should all press our governments to reverse these troubling trends, but in the meantime citizens will increasingly consider turning to private prosecutions when the government doesn’t step up to the plate. At least one person retweeted our tweet about the Lemon Creek charges, adding a#MountPolley hashtag – a reference to the fact that charges have yet to be laid in relation of the Mount Polley mine disaster.

Marilyn and her lawyers have shown us that a determined individual acting on behalf of her community can get some environmental justice. Congratulations once again, Marilyn. 

By Andrew Gage, Staff Counsel

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Charges Laid in Lemon Creek Case

Good News for the Slocan Valley. Charges Laid in Lemon Creek Case – 8 charges Laid in the Lemon Creek spill.
Check out website at: www.mykootenaynow.com/15558/charges-laid-lemon-creek-fuel-spill

Thank you to everyone who wrote letters, to the media who covered the story, to West Coast Environmental Law, Lawyers Jeff Jones and Lilina Lysenko, Otto Langer, Fisheries Biologist and to the wisdom of the late Sinixt Elder Eva Orr, whose wise words, “Never Give Up” are an inspiration to those of use engaged in social and environmental justice.

Marilyn Burgoon

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May 29th Event in Nakusp Geological History of Slocan and Kootenay Basins

geological history slocan kootenay rivers poster may 19  2016

The Geological History of the Slocan and Kootenay Basins Presentation by Lesley Anderton
 
The public is invited to join us at the Seniors Association in Nakusp on May 29th at 1:00 to learn about “ The Geological History of the Slocan and Kootenay Basins” presented by Lesley Anderton.
 
The presentation teaches the geological history going back millions of years, which includes the formation of continents and in particular it teaches about the various rock formations and mountains in the area. It explains what these rocks tell us about the history of the mountains, water and land formations. This presentation deepens our connection to this place and our knowledge of the landscapes that surrounds us, supports our survival, and provides a significant portion of hydroelectric power to the rest of the Province. . 
 
Lesley Anderton grew up in Lancashire in the north of England where she came to love the outdoors. Having gained a BA (Hons) degree in Geology and Geography from Keele, she won a Commonwealth Scholarship to study at UBC. After completing her master’s degree with a thesis entitled ‘The Quaternary Stratigraphy and Geomorphology of the Lower Thompson Valley’ she returned to work in England at Malham Tarn Field Centre in the Yorkshire Dales. In 1969 Lesley began her 35 year career at Selkirk College, where she taught first and second year geology and geography courses and developed the ‘Geology, Landforms and Soils’ course for renewable resources technology students. In addition she developed a first year Environmental Science Course for non-science majors. In the summers she frequently worked on terrain analysis mapping with Dr June Ryder. Some of you may recall Dr. June Ryder  from her work locally, “Geological Hazards of the Perry Ridge Benchlands”and her grave concerns about several aspects of the potential effects of logging the Perry Ridge uplands www.perryridge.org
 
Ms. Anderton has always been interested in sharing her love of the natural environment with non geologists and enjoys giving talks on local geology and leading field trips. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and cross country skiing as well as visiting polar latitudes. The appeal of Lesley Anderton has been demonstrated over the decades as a much loved Geology instructor at Selkirk College and her knowledge is extensive, and irreplaceable. We invite attendees to bring their film equipment so that this presentation may be filmed for future reference.  Everyone is welcome. See attached poster. Thank you to Columbia Basin Trust for Discretionary Funding.
 
Submitted by Perry Ridge Water Users Association
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Oppose Logging in Western Toad Habitat

Time to change outdated Forestry Planning to protect Water, Wildlife and Culture…

The Perry Ridge Water Users Association supports the citizens opposing logging in Western Toad Habitat. Perry Ridge is also a high elevation unique habitat for the Western Toad. Although the government says logging in winter will protect this struggling amphibian this is not correct as the Western Toad has an extremely strong homing instinct and always returns to its original water source to breed, even if just a puddle in the forest. Once machines move through and disturb the soil and small water sources the toad no longer can return to its home. 

 
The Slocan Valley forest removal is outdated and does not take into account the ecosystem services provided by the forest. We need to understand the capital value of forests to water, endangered species and global warming to name a few. True cost benefit analysis will show that protection of forests makes economic and environmental sense. If we are to take the recent Global Warming commitment in Paris by Canada then we must understand the function of forests. The American Forests – Protecting and Restoring Forests website, regarding how do we deal with Greenhouse gases and Global warming, states:
 
“So, what do we do? For starters, we protect our trees and forests. It’s well known that trees act as carbon sinks, or basically storage vaults, absorbing carbon from the air for use in photosynthesis and accumulating it in their limbs, trunks and roots, as well as in the organic matter of the soils that trees help to build. But scientists are discovering that forests may be even better sinks in the coming years than was originally thought. According to a recent report by a team of University of Michigan researchers, in the immediate future, forests will be able to consume more carbon than had been previously estimated and help remove additional greenhouse gases from the air.”
 
Unfortunately the planning for the forests in our communities go back 30 years – and even then those of us who were at the various planning tables opposed the logging we now see taking place. Science has proven the water users correct and it is time to change this outdated planning with new data collection and the use of the precautionary principle.
 
When the government gives a license to road build and cut the forests,  the law then protects the licensee. This is not justice for the toad, the Sinixt Nation or those of us who will suffer the consequences of this misguided planning by the government.

Western Toad

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