A section Lake Megantic track - 12 Jul 2013 Justin Tang.
16 June 2014
Quebec Goes After MMA for $409 Million
Quebec City Quebec - Quebec will seek $409 million from Montreal Maine & Atlantic (MMA) the railway operator whose freight train derailed and exploded in Lake Megantic last summer, according to a statement released Monday.
The explosion and subsequent fire killed 47 people, laid waste to the city's downtown core, and spilled millions of litres of crude oil into the streets and waterways of Lake Megantic.
The rail company subsequently filed for bankruptcy protection and, last month, three of its employees were arrested and charged with criminal negligence causing death.
Cleanup costs have totalled $126 million so far and the government says another $283 million will be needed to repair the damage caused by the explosion.
"We must act reasonably and take all of the legal measures at our disposal to recuperate as much as possible," said Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee in an official statement.
The court documents were filed Friday.
Vallee added that if the people responsible for the disaster propose some sort of settlement with their creditors, the government should also be paid but "without penalizing those affected by the explosion."
MMA's insurance policy carried a maximum payout of $25 million, well short of the amount being sought by Quebec and the victims' families who launched a class-action lawsuit against the rail operator.
The company was sold last month for $17.25 million to the New York-based Fortress Investment Group.
The train company's name has been changed to Central Maine & Quebec Railway and will not resume oil shipments through Lake Megantic.