High court says province can't force insolvent company to clean contamination

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OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled against the government of Newfoundland and Labrador in its effort to force insolvent newsprint giant AbitibiBowater Inc., pay for an environmental cleanup.

The province wanted the top court to decide if a debtor's statutory duty to remove enviromental contamination is extinguished under Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

The company had filed for protection under the act in 2009.

The province wanted to force the company to clean up five contaminated sites at a cost estimated at between $50 million and $100 million.

The Quebec Court of Appeal earlier refused to hear the province's appeal against the Montreal-based company.

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 against the province.

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada, AbitibiBowater Inc., Quebec Court

Geographic location: OTTAWA, Newfoundland and Labrador

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