ST. ALBERT Alberta (Reuters) - An Alberta judge found Syncrude Canada Ltd, the biggest producer in Canada's oil sands, guilty on Friday on charges stemming from the deaths of 1,600 ducks that landed on a toxic northern Alberta tailings pond in 2008.
Syncrude faces a maximum fine of C$500,000 ($481,000) for on federal charge and C$300,000 for a province of Alberta charge in the case, which heightened international concern about the environmental impact of developing Canada's vast oil sands, the largest crude oil source outside the Middle East.
Syncrude was supposed to have deterrents in place that would keep the ducks from landing on its tailing pond. However those were not in place. Alberta Provincial Court Judge Ken Tjosvold also noted that Syncrude had cut back its deterrents and staffing for bird protection.