A Charlie Lake company has been fined $43,000 for burning commercial wood pallets in violation of waste disposal rules under the Environmental Management Act.
According to a ministry of environment ruling, it was the third enforcement for the same issue against Kalia Resources.
The penalty was issued in February after a joint investigation by the ministry's environmental enforcement unit and conservation officers on January 24, 2021.
According to the ruling, officers observed "many commercial wood pallets” being burned that they said the company had been paid to remove from a local business.
At a January hearing, the company counter-argued the burning debris pile contained “fallen trees, brush and untreated blocking” and that the pallet wood that was observed and photographed was fencing. The company argued that “hundreds of pallets” were stacked on its property awaiting reuse, and that the pallets were not treated with chemicals.
A ministry adjudicator, however, dismissed the company’s arguments, and ruled with investigators that the company was aware that burning the pallets without authorization contravened the Environmental Management Act, which it noted “undermines the basic integrity of the Ministry’s regulatory regime, and significantly interferes with government’s ability to ensure that regulatory objectives are met.”
The adjudicator levied a base fine of $20,000, and ultimately increased the penalty to $43,000 based on aggravating factors and previous contraventions by the company.
Kalia sought to have the fine reduced noting the company was “essentially on the verge of bankruptcy" and unable to pay.
However, ministry director Stephanie Little ruled that, “Although the ability to pay is something that I may consider under this factor, I find in the absence of any supporting evidence to substantiate this claim, a reduction is not warranted.”
Kalia Resources Corp - Final Determination by AlaskaHighwayNews on Scribd