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False water licence penalty shows lack of environmental leadership by PC government: Anglin

EDMONTON, AB (July 10, 2013):  The provincial government continues to fail Albertans by putting the environment at risk, Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin said today. 

The Provincial Court handed down a minimal penalty today for an egregious offence where a B.C. man plead guilty to providing false information under the Water Act in Alberta. Stephen Brown of Brownstone Environmental Services Ltd. pleaded guilty to falsifying a Temporary Diversion water licence and provided it to a pipeline company to divert water from a water body near Bonnyville. In its ruling, the Provincial Court of Alberta fined Brown $1,000, and ordered him to put $9,000 in a trust for the RiverWatch Institute of Alberta. “This penalty should be appealed for a more appropriate deterrent. To walk away with a $1,000 fine and a $9,000 charitable tax donation receipt sends the wrong message to industry regarding the environment,” Anglin said. “It raises further questions about these practices and whether or not this was a pattern of behaviour, and if other documents have been falsified. The PC government has not acted responsibly in this enforcement to protect the environment.” The Water Act allows for up to a $100,000 fine or two years imprisonment for providing false or misleading information. Environment and Sustainable Resource Development lawyers often recommend “creative sentencing” in these matters. “This creative sentence is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. A penalty of this nature is not a sufficient deterrent. It appears to be just a cost of doing business. This shows that this government clearly does not take protecting the environment seriously,” Anglin said.