Nation launches open letter campaign calling for accountability, asking Kirby Corporation President and CEO, David Grzebinski, "Does Kirby Care?" (www.doeskirbycare.com)
BELLA BELLA, BC, July 16, 2019 /CNW/ - The Heiltsuk Nation believes today's criminal sentence for Kirby Corporation in BC Provincial Court for a 110,000 liter diesel oil spill that occurred in Heiltsuk territory almost three years ago, is a long way from justice, and the community has said the company's ships should be banned from its territorial waters until there is proper restitution in accordance with its traditional laws.
Kirby pled guilty today to three counts of violating the Fisheries Act, the Migratory Birds Act and the Pilotage Act, and was fined a total of $2.9 million. The company still faces a civil suit by the Heiltsuk Nation for environmental assessment and remediation costs, as well as communal harvest and cultural damages associated with the spill.
"Today's sentencing was a far cry from real justice," said Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation. "Despite pleading guilty, Kirby Corporation still doesn't seem to care. As we speak, they are waging an expensive and complex legal effort to split our civil case between two different courts, and to exhaust our resources in order to drastically limit their liability instead of compensating us for harms to our aboriginal rights and title."
Kirby continues to deny their civil liability for the spill.
The nation is now continuing its pursuit of justice by bringing its story to Houston, Texas, where Kirby Corp. is based, as well as the wider world, through an open letter and advertising and social media campaign titled, "Does Kirby Care?" (www.doeskirbycare.com). The campaign allows supporters to write to the CEO of Kirby, as well as relevant politicians and regulators.
"Kirby Corporation is a multi-billion dollar American company, and yet it is Heiltsuk that has been on the hook for environmental assessment and remediation costs, while attempting to obtain compensation," said Slett. "This is a stark reminder for all coastal communities that Canada does not have world-class oil spill response, or an adequate compensation system for the victims of oil spills."
SOURCE Heiltsuk Nation
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