The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will be serving UC Rusal/Windalco with a notice of intention to suspend its environmental permits and licences over the latest effluent spill, in the Rio Cobre, in St. Catherine.
The announcement was made by Chief Executive Officer at NEPA, Peter Knight, during a virtual press conference this afternoon (August 5).
Mr. Knight noted that the impacts of the chemical spill have been devastating for the residents living and operating in the space along the river and even for the government, as the National Water Commission (NWC) has also been negatively impacted.
He said what occurred over the past eight days, is unacceptable and that UC Rusal will be made to answer for breaching the wildlife protection act, the natural resources conservation act, as well as its environmental permits and licenses.
He said regardless of the challenges the company faces, the agency is firm that the pollution incident cannot go unpunished and that UC Rusal will be held accountable, responsible, and prosecuted.
Mr. Knight added that NEPA will draw down on the company’s environmental performance bond, which is valued at US $771,000.
He said the agency is considering whether there needs to be a re-evaluation of the environmental bond, and the terms associated with its operation.
UC Rusal/Windalco has been called to a meeting next Monday, to discuss the actions being taken by NEPA.