Will Statoil’s “creative sentence” prevent illegal water use?



Will Statoil’s “creative sentence” prevent illegal water use?


Norwegian giant Statoil has pled guilty to breaching the terms of a Water Act license, joining Suncor and Syncrude as the third oil sands operator to be convicted under provincial legislation in the last three years.  Statoil’s $190,000 fine  is the lowest of the three but it is the leading case for Alberta’s creative sentencing program.  Suncor got hit with a straight fine.  Syncrude saw a mix of fines and creative sentencing, but the case was a mix of federal and provincial laws.  Statoil was convicted on one provincial charge and 97% of the fine is going to provincial creative sentencing.


Creative sentencing has huge potential to repair environmental damage and prevent future harms. Fines to general revenue may not help the environment, or worse, may just be the cost of doing business. Yet exactly ten years ago, the ELC found that Alberta’s program could be more  under our existing laws.  Are we there yet?


Read “Will Statoil’s ‘creative sentence’ prevent illegal water use?” on the ELC blog.




The Environmental Law Centre (ELC) has been seeking strong and effective environmental laws since it was founded in 1982. The ELC is dedicated to providing credible, comprehensive and objective legal information regarding natural resources, energy and environmental law, policy and regulation in Alberta. The ELC’s mission is to educate and champion for strong laws and rights so all Albertans can enjoy clean water, clean air and a healthy environment. Our vision is a society where laws secure an environment that sustains current and future generations.


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Articles, Presentations & Multimedia, Public Participation, Water
Articles, Presentations & Multimedia, water