Alberta court gets tough on deliberate spill

Western Biodiesel Inc., a company with a plant near High River , Alberta, capable of producing 19 million litres per year of ASTM fuel grade biodiesel, was recently fined $160,000 under Alberta’sEnvironmental Protection and Enhancement Act for releasing wastewater containing methanol into the environment and for providing false or misleading information to investigators.

Reports say that a plant manager ordered workers to release a mixture of water and methanol on to the ground on the Company’s property. The following day a welder was working in the area of the spill and the methanol ignited. No one was injured in this incident.

The plant is currently shut down. In 2007 Western Biodiesel received a federal contribution of $638,559 from the federal government’s ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital initiative towards a reported total plant cost of eight million dollars. In 2009 the federal government announced that the plant will receive up to $19.9 million over seven years to support biofuels development. The Government of Alberta contributed $2,416,031 from the Alberta Biorefining Commercialization and Market Development Program and the Bioenergy Infrastructure Development Program.

The Alberta Environment announcement of the fine is at http://alberta.ca/home/NewsFrame.cfm?ReleaseID=/acn/201108/31105D35E9E83-0D9D-0FC5-499A49F6BEDDA1CF.html . The announcement of the federal funding is at http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/federal-government-invests-in-the-alberta-biodiesel-industry-789634.htm and at http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/newcom/2009/200953-eng.php

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