Husky Energy faces Canadian charges over 2016 pipeline spill

(Reuters) - Husky Energy Inc is facing a number of provincial and federal charges related to a July 2016 pipeline leak that spilled oil into a river in Western Canada, the country’s environmental ministry said on Monday.

Environment and Climate Change Canada said it had laid a total of nine charges over the 1,570-barrel leak from Husky’s Saskatchewan Gathering System pipeline, which forced a number of cities in the province of Saskatchewan to temporarily stop drawing drinking water from the North Saskatchewan River.

The Western Canadian province laid a 10th charge, saying Husky did “unlawfully permit the discharge of a substance to the environment that caused an adverse effect.”

The charges follow a 19-month joint federal-provincial investigation. The maximum fine under Saskatchewan’s environmental rules is C$1 million ($778,938), with the federal laws allowing for fines ranging from C$15,000 to C$1 million.

A spokesman for Husky said the company would need to review the charges before responding to the specifics, but said the company takes fully responsibility for the incident.

“We deeply regret this happened and we are sorry for the impact it had. We have worked hard every day since to make things right and we have learned from it,” said Mel Duvall, spokesman for the Calgary-based energy producer.

Husky is expected to appear in a Saskatchewan court on Thursday.

($1 = 1.2838 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Julie Gordon in Vancouver; editing by G Crosse and Leslie Adler