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Quebec releases assistance to Lac-Megantic

July 11, 2013 at 8:18 AM   |   Comments

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, July 11 (UPI) -- The government of Quebec said more than $25 million was available in emergency assistance for those affected by Saturday's oil train disaster.

Dozens of people are missing and 15 deaths resulted from a weekend derailment of a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota across the border to a Canadian refinery.

Operator Montreal, Maine & Atlantic said it believes the air brakes holding the locomotive in place were not applied properly before the derailment. Canadian authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the disaster.

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said the city of Lac-Megantic would be compensated for the loss of tax revenue and buildings damaged in the derailment. She said Wednesday the first issuance of more than $25 million was available immediately to those affected by the disaster.

The MMA train was carrying more than 70 carloads of crude oil to a refinery in New Brunswick. Each carload can hold about 700 barrels of crude oil.

Quebec Minister for the Environment Yves Francois Blanchet said some oil spilled from the accident was still visible in area rivers. He said during a Tuesday news conference water quality was the ministry's biggest concern because of the presence of oil sheen on the water.

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