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23 août 2010

Operation HAZ 2: North American operation against illicit transport of hazardous materials

The second operation of its kind against the illegal transportation of hazardous materials has seen Canadian and US authorities carry out inspections and enforcement actions.

Targeting vehicles and vessels capable of transporting hazardous materials of all forms – including industrial chemical waste, the two-day operation (17-18 August) focused on major transportation routes in the New York, Michigan and Ontario area. With unscrupulous companies and individuals often seeking to cheaply dispose of hazardous materials illegally, at times via criminal gangs, the operation saw 313 vehicles checked, 85 violations identified and two investigations launched so far.

Led by officers from the Canadian and US national environmental agencies (Environment Canada, US Environmental Protection Agency), and supported by provincial and state environmental agencies, police and national customs authorities, the operation also involved INTERPOL’s National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Ottawa and Washington which provided secure police communication channels, access to a range of INTERPOL databases and analytical support­.

"To ensure the proper disposal of hazardous waste it is absolutely essential that we work with our international partners,” said Fred Burnside, director for EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training.  “Illegal disposal of hazardous and toxic wastes can endanger our communities.  EPA is committed to a strong and continued collaboration with Canada to make certain that criminal violations of environmental laws are not tolerated."

Environment Canada’s Chief Enforcement Officer, Albin Tremblay said:  "The illegal transportation of hazardous waste is a growing global concern.  Fortunately we have proven that operations of this kind provide a clear message of deterrence.  I am pleased that Environment Canada, and our partnering organizations, have been able to build on the collective success that we have previously experienced with this type of operation."

Participating Agencies

Canada:

  • INTERPOL National Central Bureau Ottawa
  • Environment Canada
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Ontario Ministry of Environment
  • Ontario Ministry of Transportation

US:

  • INTERPOL National Central Bureau Washington
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Customs and Border Protection
  • U.S. Department of Transport (DOT) - Office of Inspector General
  • U.S. DOT - Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA)
  • U.S. DOT - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • U.S. DOT - Federal Railroad Administration
  • Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement / Homeland Investigation Service
  • Federal Air Marshal - Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR)
  • Michigan State Police
  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) - Office of Criminal Investigations
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation