A resolution to the situation that saw flocks of ducks perish in a toxic tailings pond one year ago hangs in the balance, as Syncrude’s legal team has postponed proceedings until September.
Crown and company officials will return to court in the fall to decide whether Syncrude will oppose the federal government’s constitutional right to charge the company with the ducks’ deaths.
Syncrude has yet to enter a plea, but three months’ court time has been set aside in the event of a trial.
Company spokesman Alain Moore said yesterday the company is weighing its options.
“We’re very much still in analysis mode, and will make that decision as we go forward, but have not yet made that decision,” he said.
The world was originally told that only 500 ducks died when they landed in the toxic runoff at the company’s Aurora North Site mine facility north of Fort McMurray last April. In March, Syncrude officials said 1,606 ducks actually died.
Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema said the possibility of a constitutional challenge makes the company’s previous apologies ring hollow.
“The fact that they’re not even willing to accept the minimum penalties they could get, and instead are trying to challenge it, show the company isn’t taking responsibility for what they’ve done.”