EnCana Corporation facing criminal charges

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The Ministry of Environment has charged EnCana following a sour gas leak in November 2009.

The Ministry has filed two charges against the company. The company is charged with introducing business-related waste into the environment and failing to report a spill of a polluting substance.

On Nov. 22, 2009, an EnCana facility – approximately 12km south of Dawson Creek – began to leak sour gas. A report released by the Oil and Gas Commission in February 2010 states residents noticed ‘sewage’ smells as early as 2:30 in the morning. However, EnCana claims it didn’t receive notification from residents until later that day.

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The report also notes that residents did not have contact numbers for EnCana, and so decided to inform the RCMP instead. In part, they say it was because they didn’t understand protocols established in the company’s Public Information Package.

The leak was caused after sand had eroded a piece of pipeline infrastructure, called a ‘Tee’.

Encana’s Vice President of media relations, Alan Boras, says the company won’t comment about any specifics of the case, but that the company has taken steps to ensure future leaks never happen.

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The Ministry of Environment will also not comment on the case as it is now before the courts.

The company will have their first court appearance on Oct. 13 in Fort St. John Provincial Court.

The complete report from the Oil and Gas Commission is attached below.

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