Pollution charges come to court in 2013 tailings spill into Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Pollution charges come to court in 2013 tailings spill into Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers

The Tulameen River is pictured in this image from Flickr.
Image Credit: Flickr

PENTICTON - A Tulameen-based company and its principals face pollution charges over a 2013 spill of coal mine tailings into the Tulameen and Similkameen Rivers.

The parties involved were represented legal counsel in court for a pretrial conference today, Dec. 12.

Coalmont Energy Corporation was conducting mining operations near Coalmont in 2013 when a tailing pond was breached on Aug. 25, spilling 13,000 gallons of black, silty tailings water into the Tulameen and Similkameen Rivers.

Rockland Kerry Leong and Allan McGowan were represented by their counsel via telephone, facing two counts each of introducing business related waste into the environment and one count each of depositing deleterious substances.

Coalmont Energy Corporation also faces similar charges, but Crown prosecutor Joel Gold, also speaking via telephone, told Penticton Judge Gregory Koturbash the corporation had declared bankruptcy “some time ago” and would not likely participate in the trial.

Gold estimated the trial would take five days as Crown plans to hear from 12 witnesses.

Judge Koturbash noted the trial would likely elicit a high degree of public interest in Princeton, and asked to see if accommodations could be made to conduct the trial out of Princeton courthouse. Gold said if Princeton courthouse could not accommodate the trial, it would likely take place in Penticton.

The parties involved will meet in court again on Dec. 14.

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