Thursday February 29, 2024

The Narwhal

First Nations leaders say they have been waiting nearly three months for a private asphalt company to clean up an early December oil spill reported in Hope, B.C., near the Fraser River on Stó:lō land.

Nearly two months after the incident, on Feb. 2, a manager from the enforcement division of B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change issued warnings to a director of the company, Keywest Asphalt, that they could face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $300,000 if convicted of violating the province’s Environmental Management Act.

In one warning letter, dated Jan. 29, the ministry alleged the company was violating the act and had not taken sufficient actions to clean up the spill, despite being directed to do so in December.

The spill was triggered by a landslide that knocked over a tanker truck container on the slope of the company’s rock quarry, impacting prime sturgeon habitat, according to Takoda Castonguay, community support assistant with the Emergency Planning Secretariat, an organization supporting rapid response for 31 Coast Salish First Nations.

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