Orica Fined Heavily for Australian Pollution Incidents

By George Backwell
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Oil pollution: File photo

Orica Australia Pty Ltd has been convicted and penalised $768,250 in relation to charges brought by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for pollution incidents at Orica’s Kooragang Island and Botany plants. This includes a fine of $211,750 for the pollution incident that affected residents of Stockton, Newcastle, on Monday 8 August 2011, informs the NSW EPA.

The NSW Land and Environment Court also required Orica to pay the EPA’s investigation costs of approximately $65,000 and the EPA’s legal costs.

The Court ordered that the fine be paid to fund six projects in Newcastle and one at Botany aimed at restoring and enhancing the environment.

EPA Chair Barry Buffier said the sentence is a good outcome for the environment and the people of Newcastle and Botany and that he was particularly pleased that the penalty will fund projects of benefit to the local environment and those impacted communities.

“This is the largest penalty handed to a company by the NSW Land and Environment Court for a series of prosecutions brought by the EPA.

“It sends a clear message that the EPA will pursue companies that breach their environmental obligation and bring them to account in the court. Local communities deserve better from their industrial neighbours and the outcome of this comprehensive process ensures this will be delivered."

“The EPA’s prosecution of Orica involved thorough investigations into the pollution incidents that occurred from October 2010 to December 2011 by EPA operational staff, specialist investigators, expert scientific officers and the legal team. This included six pollution incidents at Orica’s Kooragang Island plant and one incident at Orica’s Botany plant."

“The EPA will continue to monitor Orica’s environmental performance and will take a tough stance against any industry that pollutes the environment and disregards the health of their neighbours.”

The sentence hearing took place in the Land and Environment Court in December 2012 and the Court reserved its decisions on penalties. The judgement was handed down yesterday.   

Details of the projects to be funded by the penalty are listed at: http://bit.ly/UHxvYZ

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