Government of Nunavut ordered to pay $100K for 2020 fuel spill

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Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik High School in Rankin Inlet. The Government of Nunavut has been ordered to pay $100,000 for a 2020 fuel spill from an overflow at the  school's mechanical room’s tank. (Matisse Harvey/CBC - image credit)
Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik High School in Rankin Inlet. The Government of Nunavut has been ordered to pay $100,000 for a 2020 fuel spill from an overflow at the school's mechanical room’s tank. (Matisse Harvey/CBC - image credit)

A fuel spill of 18,400 liters into the Hudson Bay in 2020 has led to a $100,000 charge for the Government of Nunavut.

After being investigated by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) in April 2020, the territorial government pleaded guilty to one charge under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

A press release Monday indicates that ECCC enforcement officers learnt through their reporting website of a fuel spill in the mechanical room of Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik High School in Rankin Inlet. An investigation found that fuel overflowed from the mechanical room's tank on the afternoon of April 16 and into the morning of April 17.

The spill, they said, is a result of human error in the manual transfer of fuel from a storage tank system.

The Nunavut court made the order for the territorial government to pay the fine on April 14. The $100,000 will be directed to the Government of Canada's Environmental Damages Fund to support projects that restore the environment and conserve wildlife and habitats.

In addition to the fine, the Government of Nunavut is required to report to ECCC the mitigating measures it's taking to prevent future spills and evaluate all government buildings with a federally regulated storage tank.

The territorial government is also required to disclose the circumstances of the spill to residents of Rankin Inlet and ensure anyone affected is aware of potential environmental impacts and how future spills are being prevented.

Neither Environment Canada nor the Nunavut government responded to requests for interviews by deadline.

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