Canada's transport minister defends safety after oil train derailment

Oct. 21, 2013 at 6:44 AM
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EDMONTON, Alberta, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A transportation official in Canada defended the safety of transporting crude oil by rail following a Canadian National Railway Co. derailment in Alberta.

Despite the accident, and others recently, Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said rail transportation for oil is safe "over 99.9 percent of the time," The Globe and Mail reported.

No injuries were reported when 13 of 134 railcars derailed Saturday in Gainford, Alberta, about 50 miles from the provincial capital Edmonton.

The Canadian newspaper reported Sunday three of the cars that derailed exploded but those carrying oil were removed from a fire caused by the blast.

It was the third derailment of hazardous material for Canadian National Railway Co. in the past month, The Globe and Mail reported.

Oil production from Alberta is straining existing pipeline capacity in the region, forcing energy companies to rely on rail for delivery, officials say.

At least 40 people were killed when tankers filled with crude oil from North Dakota derailed and exploded in July in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said last week he'd do more to improve of safety regulations for rail operations.

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