B.C. seeks lessons from Quebec disaster

B.C. will incorporate lessons from the Lac Megantic rail disaster in its own effort to improve oil spill protection

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak

VICTORIA – The B.C. government will incorporate lessons from the Lac Megantic rail disaster in its own effort to develop “world class” land-based oil spill protection, Environment Minister Mary Polak says.

Polak said Monday that while rail traffic is regulated by the federal government, the province’s target for proposed oil pipeline safety have led to discussion with Ottawa and railway operators.

The runaway train that destroyed part of Lac Megantic, Quebec in a huge explosion and fire Saturday night was carrying light crude from shale oil deposits in North Dakota to a refinery in New Brunswick. The oil industry across North America has increasingly looked to rail and barge transportation of crude as pipeline expansion has fallen behind increasing production.

“Whenever we see an event like this, our main concern is to learn from it and do everything we can to ensure that nothing like this would ever happen again,” Polak said. “So we will be watching the federal investigation very closely.”

Polak said there is no simple answer to the question of whether pipelines are safer than rail for transporting oil.

“There is differing opinion on either side, and much depends on what kind of topography you’re dealing with in a particular location,” she said.

Transport Canada increased restrictions on rail operations after two serious accidents in recent years. Train lengths were restricted on CN’s B.C. operations near Prince George after an August 2006 collision between two trains with a fire involving gasoline and lumber cars.

In 2005 a CN derailment in the Cheakamus Canyon resulted in a tank car loaded with caustic soda spilling in the river, killing thousands of fish.

In both incidents, the available locomotive and braking power were a key focus for investigators.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health care priorities debated following surprise funding announcement

Surprise provincial funding stirs debate on local health care priorities during regional meeting

Fernie treated to a Tiny Concert in the Park

Shred Kelly members Tim Newton and Sage McBride played a live concert for the first time since February

Community groups receive funding through annual CFKR grants

Groups throughout the entire Elk Valley were supported through this year’s round of funding

Local author launches first novel

The Frigid Pass is a dystopian novel set in Cranbrook, British Columbia

Major construction project to begin in Sparwood

Residents will notice crews working throughout August and September this year

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Most Read