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Rocky View company fined $77,000 for not cleaning up massive fish oil spill on highway in Jasper

Parks Canada was forced to take charge of the clean up after the transport company failed to do so.
This was the scene one year ago when a transport truck spilled 1,000 litres of crude pollock oil on the highway. The company responsible was recently fined nearly $53,000 for failure to clean up the muck.

More than $77,000 in fines were levied against a freight transport company based in Rocky View County, west of Chestermere, following an incident where more than 1,000 in crude fish oil were spilled in Jasper National Park one year ago.

Last month, a provincial court justice ordered Sher Singh Logistics to pay Parks Canada $52,366.82 for failure to take the necessary action to clean up the spill and prevent its spread, leaving its obligations for the initial cleanup response and all remediation efforts to Parks Canada.

The fine will cover the cost to the taxpayer for the clean-up and remediation of the spill. The company, based out of Rocky View County, was also ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 toward the Environmental Damages Fund to enhance conservation measures across Canada.  

One of the company’s transport trucks was shipping a load of crude pollock (fish) oil on Feb. 15, 2023, when the driver swerved to avoid wildlife on the road near midnight. The plastic bulk food grade liquid container tipped over and spilled the smelly orange-reddish oil over a few hundred meters of Highway 16 from the west to the east of the intersection with Hazel Avenue.

Parks Canada’s highway response team were joined by members of the RCMP and the Jasper Fire Department as they worked to scoop up the fish oil and deposit it into barrels. Some of the oil needed to be washed off the roadway, so they also deployed oil absorbent booms to prevent any further amount of the substance from going down the embankment.

A report came in of an injured elk off to the side of the road near the start of the spill. Wildlife conflict staff members responded and determined that the animal needed to be euthanized and removed from the scene.

The semi trailer was still on scene at the turnout a month after the incident. Unable to get the company to undertake the cleanup itself, Parks Canada was forced to hire a remediation company. The embankment area was later reseeded to restore vegetation cover. 

“Parks Canada takes its mandate to protect ecological integrity seriously,” read a Parks Canada media statement emailed to the Fitzhugh.

Parks Canada’s law enforcement charged Sher Singh Logistics under Section 32 (1) of the Canada National Parks Act, along with other offences related to the driver being unable to produce valid registration and insurance.

Section 32 (1) reads, “Where a substance that is capable of degrading the natural environment, injuring fauna, flora or cultural resources or endangering human health is discharged or deposited in a park, any person who has charge, management or control of the substance shall take reasonable measures to prevent any degradation of the natural environment and any danger to the fauna, flora or cultural resources or to persons that may result from the discharge or deposit.”

The Fitzhugh attempted to reach Sher Singh Logistics for comment, but the call did not go through.

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ecology and Environment Reporter at the Fitzhugh Newspaper since July 2022 under Local Journalism Initiative funding provided by News Media Canada.
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