Our Vancouver office acted as regulatory defence counsel, successfully resolving an unprecedented federal environmental prosecution against Teck Coal Limited.
Teck Coal is the second-largest supplier of seaborne steelmaking coal in the world, which it produces from four mines in the Elk Valley in southeastern BC. In 2018, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC), advised Teck Coal that it had approved charges under the federal Fisheries Act, alleging that Teck Coal had deposited or permitted the deposit of a deleterious substance, coal mine waste rock leachate, from two of its mines over ten years.
Teck Coal successfully resolved the charges with the PPSC. On March 26, 2021, Teck Coal pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of the Fisheries Act covering the period of January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012. Associate Chief Judge Dohm accepted Teck Coal and the PPSC’s joint submission and sentenced Teck Coal to penalties totalling C$60 million. As part of the joint submission, the PPSC agreed not to proceed with the balance of the charges that it had approved.
If the charges had proceeded, this would have been the largest environmental trial in Canadian history, lasting years.
The court noted the “exceptional work” of counsel in the sentencing hearing and in “coming to a fair and reasonable resolution of a very difficult and challenging set of circumstances”.
Fasken acted for Teck with a team led by Andrew Nathanson (Litigation) and Bridget Gilbride (Litigation, Environmental) and included Ron Ezekiel and Kai Alderson (Corporate/Commercial), Allison Sears (Litigation, Environmental), and Jennifer Francis, Corry Clark, Kaleigh Milinazzo, Tom Posyniak, Julia Kindrachuk, Kerry Kaukinen and Madison Grist (Litigation).
- British Columbia