In 2005, the Environmental Protection Act was amended to allow municipalities a new mechanism to recover the costs of cleaning up spills. s.100.1 allows municipalities to cleanup spills caused by private parties, and to issue orders to recover the costs. This has also allowed the MOE to download to municipalities the cost and responsibility of responding to most spills.
As a result, we are seeing an increasing number of such orders issued by municipalities. Naturally, we are also seeing an increasing number of appeals from such orders. To date, the Environmental Review Tribunal has successfully settled every one of these appeals. The usual result is an agreement to pay 30% to 40% of the amount paid by the municipality. See, for example, Agraso v. Pickering, ERT docket 07-154. Municipalities certainly won’t make money this way, but at least they won’t end up as far in the red. And responsible parties usually find municipalities more reasonable to deal with than the MOE would have been.