International Inc. appealed unsuccessfully from a Nova Scotia
Minister of the Environment Order to study and remediate
offsite groundwater contamination that it did not cause.IMP had acquired its property in 1978. Before
that time, previous owners, DCL and IEL, had contaminated it with
perchlorethylene. When IMP discovered the contamination, it
reported it to the Ministry and carried out on-site remediation
recommended by its consultant. The consultant advised that the
off-site plume of contaminant could not reasonably be eliminated
and therefore recommended focusing remedial activity on removing
the PCE at the source. Ministry staff rejected this advice, placing
more importance on groundwater remediation, and not solely the
health impacts on residents.
IMP appealed on the basis that the Minister's order,
imposing contaminated site liability offsite for contamination it
did not cause, was unfair and unreasonable because a) there was no
point performing off-site hydrogeological studies as the result
would not change the remediation plan, and b) DCL and IEL should
also have been named in the Order.
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia rejected their appeal and
upheld the Order. The Minister's decision to require the
off-site remediation was within "a range of possible
acceptable outcomes which are defensible in respect of the facts
and the law." It was reasonable of the Minister to reject
IMP's consultant's conclusions that there would be no
benefit from off-site monitoring and instead rely on the report
prepared by Ministry staff. It was also reasonable of the Minister
to not name DCL and IEL in the Order. The Minister has broad
discretion to determine to whom an order should be directed. The
Minister had information that DCL was defunct, and that IEL's
operations were insignificant in relation to the contamination. IMP Group
International Inc. v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General), 2014
CarswellNS 385, 2014 NSSC 191
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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