New Brunswick

Canaport LNG bird kill case adjourned without pleas

The court case of Canaport LNG Limited Partnership, Irving Canaport GP Company Ltd., and Repsol Canada Ltd., in connection with the deaths of thousands of migratory birds in 2013, has been adjourned again without any pleas.

Canaport LNG, Irving Canaport and Repsol each facing 3 charges dating back to 2013

After thousands of birds died flying into the flame at Canaport LNG companies were in court today regarding entering a plea. 1:38

The court case of Canaport LNG Limited Partnership, Irving Canaport GP Company Ltd., and Repsol Canada Ltd., in connection with the deaths of thousands of migratory birds in 2013, has been adjourned again without any pleas.

The companies each face three charges, including two alleged violations of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and one from the Species at Risk Act.

They were scheduled to enter pleas in Saint John court on Thursday, but the case has been set over until July 30 to allow more time for full disclosure by the Crown.

A large number of red-eyed vireos were among the estimated 7,500 migrating songbirds killed by the flare at Canaport LNG. The flaring system was was shut down in 2013 after an upgrade at the facility. (Courtesy of the Migration Research Foundation)
The defence says they don't know what's in the package.

Ken McCullogh, a lawyer representing Repsol Canada Ltd., requested more information and a "couple" of months to review the material.

Crown prosecutor Paul Adams told reporters outside the courtroom the file is "extensive." The Crown will do its best to disclose the material as quickly as possible, he said.

Each indictable offence carries a maximum fine of $1 million.

An estimated 7,500 songbirds were killed when they flew into a gas flare at the liquefied natural gas receiving and regasification terminal ​in Saint John some time between Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, 2013.

Flaring was part of the safety release system used at the east side plant at the time, but was shut down Sept. 30, 2013, after a $45-million upgrade.

The charges the companies face include:

  • Between Aug. 30, 2013, and Sept. 29, 2013, they deposited a substance that is harmful to migratory birds, or permit such a substance to be deposited, in an area frequented by migratory birds or in a place from which the substance may enter such an area, contrary to section 5.1 (1) of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, thereby committing an offence contrary to subsection 13(1)(a).
  • At the same time and place, they deposited a substance or permitted a substance to be deposited in any place if the substance, in combination with one or more substances, results in a substance — in an area frequented by migratory birds or in a place from which it may enter such an area — that is harmful to migratory birds, contrary to section 5.1(2) of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, thereby committing an offence contrary to subsection 13(1)(a).
  • At the same place, between Aug. 30, 2013, and Sept. 19, 2013, they unlawfully killed Canada warblers, a wildlife species that is listed as a threatened species, contrary to section 32(1) of the Species at Risk Act, thereby committing and offence contrary to subsection 97(1)(a).

In 2010, oilsands giant Syncrude Canada was ordered to pay a $3-million penalty for the deaths of 1,600 ducks in one of its toxic tailings ponds in Alberta in April 2008.

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