Smoke rises over railway cars after derailing - 6 Jul 2013 Paul Chiasson.
15 August 2013
CP Railway Now in Quebec Gov't
Quebec City Quebec - The Quebec government added the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to its list of legal targets Wednesday, casting a wider net to recover millions of dollars in cleanup costs from the Lake Megantic disaster.
The big railway is now among several companies listed on a legal notice first issued last month by the provincial government, a document demanding that firms pay for the massive mop-up after millions of litres of crude oil gushed into the environment.
CPR was included as one of the defendants because, the government said Wednesday, it was the main contractor responsible for the fateful shipment that was supposed to send the cargo from North Dakota to a New Brunswick oil refinery.
It handed off the train in Montreal to the smaller Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA), which then operated the tanker train that jumped the tracks in Lake Megantic.
The province had already named MMA and its Canadian subsidiary in the initial 29 Jul 2013 legal notice, but both companies have since filed for bankruptcy protection after stating they could not pay the mounting cleanup costs and multiple lawsuit attempts.
In one court filing, MMA said its insurance coverage was $25 million and estimated the cleanup cost would climb past $200 million.
By adding the CPR to its legal notice, the Quebec government locked in on a bigger target than MMA, one with much deeper pockets.
"Our duty is to do everything we can to ensure that the companies responsible for this accident might shoulder the costs related to the cleanup and decontamination," Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet said in a statement.
Editor's Opinion: Why should Canadian Pacific be liable? It didn't happen on their watch.
On Wednesday, the province also added another firm to the notice, World Fuel Services Inc., which is a subsidiary of the petroleum-logistics firm World Fuel Services Corp. The parent company and another subsidiary, Western Petroleum Company, were listed in the initial demand from the government.
The Miami-based World Fuel Services had bought the crude oil that was to be shipped to the Irving refinery in St. John, N.B.
World Fuel Services Inc. and CPR were asked to confirm within 24 hours whether they will execute the order, which falls under a Quebec environmental law.
"CPR just received the order and we are currently reviewing it," said Ed Greenberg, a spokesman for the railway.
Editor's Note: Article abridged.