|A roundup of important new legislation, regulations, government announcements and court cases that we covered in the Environmental Compliance Insider in 2013.
LAW OF THE YEAR
Under new contaminated sites regulations that took effect July 6, all contamination that poses a risk to people or the environment must be reported and properly managed. The new regulations provide clear standards about what must be done to clean a site and outline when the department must be notified. Cleanup must be done by qualified professionals.
OTHER NOTABLE REGULATORY CHANGES
Changes to the Environment Act took effect in Oct. 2012 as a result of a complete review of the Act in 2011. Highlights:
New regulations that will help protect fish native to Nova Scotia and the recreational sport fishing industry by addressing invasive species take effect April 1. Invasive species aren’t naturally found in an area and are introduced by people, who are often unaware of the consequences. The new regulations will limit when people may possess live fish, reducing the chance of invasive species being introduced into provincial waters.
CASE OF THE YEAR
Man Convicted of Obstruction for Refusing Inspector Access to His Yard
A caller complained to the DOE that material was being burned in a barrel in a man’s yard. A uniformed DOE inspector went to the property to investigate. She saw the man in his yard and told him she was there to inspect his property because of the complaint. She could see the burn barrel in the front yard. The man got confrontational, called her a liar and asked her to leave, which she did. The man was charged with obstructing an inspector under the Environment Act. The court acquitted him, ruling that the inspector had no authority to inspect the yard without the man’s consent or a warrant. The Court of Appeal overturned that decision, ruling that the lower court misinterpreted the term “private dwelling place” to include the yard. The term was meant to apply to abodes or residences where someone actually lived, which was consistent with the law’s stated purposes and objectives. So it convicted the man and sent the case back to the trial court for sentencing [R. v. Hicks,  NSCA 89 (CanLII), July 22, 2013].
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