Oil-by-rail scrutinized in U.S., Canada

July 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM

OTTAWA, July 23 (UPI) -- Environmental activists in Canada say federal relief efforts regarding an oil train derailment in Quebec do little to allay public safety concerns.

The Canadian government said it would provide more than $60 million to help residents in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, rebuild after the July 6 derailment.

A train carrying crude oil from North Dakota to Canadian refineries derailed and exploded near the Canadian border with Maine, killing more than 40 people.

A coalition of environmental groups said they'd petition the government to do more to address safety concerns about oil transportation.

"Even as we mourn the dead, we must fight for the living," Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, was quoted Tuesday as saying by The Globe and Mail. "These measures cannot undo the damage done to Lac-Megantic and other regions but they can help reduce the risk of future disasters."

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, called for a U.S. congressional investigation into the safety of trains carrying crude oil.

"The [derailment] illustrated the potential deadly consequences of what can happen when something goes wrong during transport of these products," he said in a letter.

A U.S. federal draft review of the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline said existing rail infrastructure must be considered when assessing the need for the project.

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