Canadian Manufacturing

U.S. rail giant BNSF hit with $75K in fines for damaging B.C. fish habitat

Charges stem from work carried out in fall 2010 on rail line in B.C.'s lower mainland



DELTA, B.C.—Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. (BNSF) has until the end of the month to pay a $75,000 federal fine after pleading guilty to damaging fish habitat in British Columbia.

According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BNSF pleaded guilty in a Surrey, B.C., provincial court this week to the charge under the federal Fisheries Act for the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat.

The charges stem from work carried out by the company in the fall of 2010 on a rail line in B.C.’s lower mainland.

The ministry said BNSF environmental consultants provided a proposed work plan prior to work being conducted but the company failed to follow the plan.

The work did not remain within the pre-determined area, the ministry said, and was not completed within the appropriate time frame when fish were not present.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada also said the work modified the local vegetation and involved more than double the volume of erosion-controlling rock than was outlined in the work plan.

Judge John Lenaghan ordered the rail giant to pay $70,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund, as well as a $5,000 fine.

The company has until March 31 to pay the penalties.

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