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Payments for bad gas are flowing

Christine Kay
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Aug 26/02) - The compensation program for two-stroke engines damaged by tainted gasoline has been expanded.

To date, the government of Nunavut has sent out more than 400 interim payments to snowmachine and outboard motor owners who have made claims. Now, it hopes to get final payments out to the owners.

Appraisers have been visiting communities affected by the bad gasoline since early July. Finance Minister Kelvin Ng said this will continue through September until most communities have been visited.

In order to avoid damage to two-stroke outboard motors during the current boating season, communities are receiving an additive to be used with 2001 gasoline. The additive is free to customers who purchase gasoline until each community receives a new supply of clean gas.

The additive will minimize the impact of the bad gas on outboards. Minister Ng said they were too late to provide the additive for snowmobiles, but they hope this will help with outboards.

"There wasn't any tests that were conclusive yet, so we continued with the outboard tests," explained Ng.

A report from the Alberta Research Council is expected soon. It will report the impact of 2001 gas on different parts of four-stroke engines.

"If it's found that the gas did cause damage to four-stroke engines, we're obviously going to try to fix the problem," said Ng.

For now, anyone with gas-related damage to their outboard motors can pick up claim forms at the Department of Finance in Iqaluit, or by calling 1-866-975-5800.

In order to receive a final payment, claimants are asked to sign release forms.

This will allow the government to recover the costs of compensation from any party found responsible for the damage.

Ng said there's one party in particular he's interested in talking with, and that's the supplier, Northern Transportation Company Ltd.

"We feel that they have the most responsibility," said Ng.

NTCL had a contract with the territorial government to supply fuel for 2001. The gas came from New York.

For now the government is focusing on fixing the problem. Ng said he expects discussions on recovering of money will begin with NTCL by the end of the month.

A new element of compensation has also been added to the program by the government. This element will address harvesters and any income losses they suffered because of the bad gas.

Harvesters in this situation are asked to submit a claim with proof of their losses to the Department of Finance.