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This spring, the Environmental Review Tribunal approved a multi-million dollar settlement between the Ministry of the Environment and the officers and directors of General Chemical.
General Chemical famously declared bankruptcy, abandoning a badly contaminated lagoon. Just before bankruptcy, General Chemical’s lenders had put up the $3.5M financial assurance the MOE demanded for the lagoon. When this amount turned out to be grossly inadequate, the MOE launched an unsuccessful attempt to preempt the financial claims of the secured creditors. The MOE had better success seeking cleanup costs from GC’s officers and directors. While the officers and directors appealled MOE orders to clean up the lagoon, they did agree to pay more than $10M to settle the case against them. The rest of the multi million dollar cleanup cost will presumably be paid by all of us, i.e. the taxpayer.
The biggest impact of this fiasco is likely to be much stricter MOE scrutiny of financial assurance calculatons for every business. The MOE must be embarrassed to have approved such a wildly inaccurate financial assurance calculation, after so many decades of bitter experience. If the MOE still cannot get such calculations right, within an order of magnitude, what good does its review process do?

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