Tag Archives: Environmental law

Ontario Court of Appeal Declines to Clarify When Judges Can Impose Fines Below Statutory Minimum

In a decision released on December 7, 2018, the Ontario Court of Appeal missed an opportunity to provide lower courts with guidance  regarding the circumstances in which they could depart from imposing statutory minimum fines required by provincial regulatory statutes.  Section 59(2) of the Provincial Offences Act (“POA”)  gives the court discretion to impose something less than the minimum where “exceptional circumstances” make it “unduly oppressive” or “not in the interests of justice” to do so.   However, the Court of Appeal ruled that the provincial offence regime is better served by leaving the requirements for departure from minimum fines and sentences intentionally vague.  In fact, the Court may have even muddied the waters by appearing to say that “exceptional” means “unusual” and then failing to define the term unusual.

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Ecuadorian Villagers Barred From Enforcing Massive Environmental Judgment Against Chevron Canada

This is my ninth instalment about this case.  It probably won’t be my last.

In the latest chapter of Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation, 2018 ONCA 472, the Court of Appeal for Ontario rejected arguments by the Ecuadorian villagers who are seeking to enforce a US$9.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corporation in Ontario.  The villagers argued that the Execution Act (“Act”) permitted execution on Chevron Canada’s shares and assets to satisfy the Ecuadorian judgment.  Secondly, they argued that the court should pierce the corporate veil between Chevron Canada and Chevron Corporation in order to render Chevron Canada’s shares and assets “exigible” i.e. – subject to seizure and sale to satisfy the judgment.

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Davis Malm welcomes

Davis Malm announces that Alicia R. Selman has joined the firm as an associate. Ms. Selman practices in the Real Estate and Environmental area. She assists in a range of real estate transactions and litigation matters for individuals and commercial clients, including lenders, developers, title insurance companies, and condominiums. Prior to joining Davis Malm, Ms. Selman interned with the Hon. Howard P. Speicher at the Massachusetts Land Court, as well as with the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and two private practice law firms.

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Davis Malm welcomes back Shawn M. McCormack

Shawn McCormack practices in the Litigation, Real Estate and Environmental areas. He focuses on real estate litigation and appeals, including zoning, permitting, land use, and title matters. Prior to joining Davis Malm, Shawn served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Gordon H. Piper, Justice of the Land Court Department of the Trial Court of Massachusetts.

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ILN Today Post

Drawing the line: Local attorney focuses on environmental law cases

When Gary Peters was assistant chief counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, he was the sole attorney representing the Deep Mine Safety Division.
“This involved defending inspectors in mine collapse and miner death cases, ensuring our inspectors were properly evaluating deep mine companies’ safety practices and also crawling the ‘chalk line’ on deep long wall mining operations,” he explains. “For a person who grew up in Iowa, hearing the earth collapse behind the chalk line when the hydraulic jacks were lowered was quite an interesting experience.”
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ILN Today Post

Validity Of Waste Permit Doesn’t Depend Upon “Zero Environmental Risk”

On March 20, 2015 the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board in Shawinigan Residents Assn. v British Columbia (Directors Delegate, Environmental Management Act) (2015 CarswellBC 802) confirmed the validity of a waste permit, subject to an amendment requiring the monitoring of water quality immediately following a storm event greater than 1 in 200 years. The permit authorized refuse to be discharged to ground as well as effluent to an ephemeral stream from a contaminated soil treatment facility and a landfill. The contaminated soil would be processed through bioremediation and landfilling. The landfilling would involve soil encapsulation in engineered cells. More…

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ILN Today Post

ENVIRONMENTAL & ENERGY LAW

On May 23, 2014, in Suncor Energy Products v. Town of Plympton-Wyoming, 2014 ONSC 2934 (“Suncor”), Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice confirmed that the provisions of any municipal by-law that purport to prohibit the construction and operation of wind turbines at provincially approved locations will be of no force and effect, and cannot interfere with the issuance of building permits for such turbines. In doing so, the court expanded upon the decision in Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. v Wainfleet (Township), 2013 ONSC 2194, where an identical municipal by-law that
attempted to impose 2km setbacks and 32dB sound level limits on provincially approved wind farms, in contrast to 550m and 40dBA provincial standards, was found to be “invalid and without force and effect as a result of vagueness and uncertainty.” More…

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ILN Today Post

ENVIRONMENTAL & ENERGY LAW

FEDERAL INITIATIVES STREAMLINE REGULATION OF INDUSTRY
IMPACTS ON FISHERIES

Stanley D. Berger B.C.L.,L.L.B, Certified Specialist Environmental Law

Why this Initiative is Important Companies which negotiate in good faith with regulators on licence conditions should be entitled to conduct their affairs with reasonable reliance on the concluded conditions. However, the objectives of some regulators are not always consistent with each other and this has led to confusion and uncertainty. For example, historically, Environment Canada unlike some of the provincial authorities, did not accept mixing zones but determined a deleterious substance at the end of the pipe. See e.g. R. v Suncor (1985) 4 F.P.R.409 (Alberta Provincial Court). More recently, we have seen the Ontario Ministry of the Environment aggressively pursue prosecution in areas which would normally come within the purview of another department, in that case the Ministry of Labour. See Ontario v. Castonguay Blasting Ltd. 2013 SCC 52. Assurances by Environment Canada through regulation that deleterious substances can be deposited if they are otherwise authorized by other regulatory authorities, the addition of a more expeditious process to deliver those assurances and increased coordination between the CNSC and the DFO should help to make a crowded regulatory field more manageable. More…

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ILN Today Post

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INCREASES COVERAGE FOR NUCLEAR LIABILITY FROM $75 MILLION TO $1 BILLION AND IS POISED TO RATIFY INTERNATIONAL LIABILITY TREATY

Stanley D. Berger B.C.L.,L.L.B, Certified Specialist Environmental Law

On January 30, 2014 Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources introduced the Energy Safety and Security Act (Bill C-22). Part 2 of the Bill is the long-anticipated new Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=6395896 More…

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ILN Today Post

Environmental compliance a key focus for 2014

As we enter a new year, it is timely to review environmental compliance to manage the risk of significant enforcement and prosecution actions being taken for non-compliance.

Environmental Compliance

The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) is increasingly focussed on environmental compliance and enforcement.  As the ‘regulator’ under the Environmental Protection Act (EP Act) and other environment related legislation, DEHP is placing greater emphasis on policing and enforcement. More…

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