Canadian National Railway Company (CN) was fined $2.5 million Sept. 15 after pleading guilty to discharging pesticides in or around fish-bearing waters.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) saw a spray truck discharging mist along the rail corridor between Terrace and Prince Rupert on Aug. 28, 2017.
Because the rail corridor runs along the Skeena River and over many tributaries and wetlands, officers conducted an inspection to verify compliance with the Fisheries Act.
The investigation confirmed pesticides sprayed along the rail line were harmful to fish.
The fine under the federal Fisheries Act will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.
ECCC led an investigation into the incident, working with the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service.
On May 27, 2021, CN Rail pleaded guilty to one violation under the provincial Integrated Pest Management Act, ECCC said.
ECCC said herbicides, a type of pesticide, are used as part of vegetation management plans to remove undesirable plants. But, when incorrectly applied, such substances can enter waterways and adversely impact fish and fish habitat.
Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by ECCC. The fund ensures that court-awarded penalties are used to support projects that will benefit the environment.