Canada files charges for Lac-Megantic disaster

Federal government said action is a testament of its commitment to safety.

By Daniel J. Graeber

OTTAWA, June 23 (UPI) -- The Canadian transport authority said it filed legal charges in connection with the Lac-Megantic oil-train disaster in 2013 under two federal acts.

The federal Transport Canada said charges filed for violations of the Fisheries Act relate to the release of crude oil in and around the site of the 2013 derailment into fish-bearing waters. Charges under the Railway Safety Act relate to insufficient application and testing of handbrakes on the locomotive.


Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, the train's operator, blamed the air brakes on the locomotive holding the freight for the Lac-Megantic incident and later filed for bankruptcy protection.

The disaster left more than 40 people dead.

"The actions taken by the government of Canada in response to this tragedy is a testament to its efforts to continually improve both environmental security and rail safety for all Canadians," the federal agency said.

The federal government rolled out new regulations in April 2014 aimed at increasing safety on the Canadian rail system. The measure from regulator Transport Canada started with an order to remove around 5,000 tanker cars designated DOT-111 from service almost immediately.


Those types of cars were involved in the Lac-Megantic disaster and several others since the July 6, 2013 tragedy.

North American crude oil production has increased to the point that it's more than the existing pipeline infrastructure can handle, leaving energy companies to rely more on rail for transport. More rail disasters involving crude oil have occurred in recent years as a result.

Those charged by Transport Canada are slated to appear in court in November.

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