Senate Recommends Thorough Railway Overhaul after Lac-Mégantic Incident

A study conducted by Senate committee several months before the incurable Lac-Mégantic, Que., train disaster highlighted that the federal government shall take immediate steps in order to review Canada’s railway regulations, and ensure the safe transport of dangerous goods. In a subsequent report released on Thursday, the energy, environment and natural resources committee of the Senate presented 13 recommendations in order to ensure safer and better transportation of crude oil and natural gas by railways, pipelines and tankers.

The Senate report admitted that the Lac-Mégantic train derailment incident has stressed infinitely on the concerns of many Canadians regarding transportation of oil by rail. The senate committee chairman, Senator Richard Neufeld, mentioned in a press release that “the goal of our study was to examine the current state of emergency and spill prevention, preparedness and response frameworks under federal authority and to make recommendations to improve public safety and the protection of the environment.” He elaborated that “we’ve been working on these issues for the last nine months and the shocking Lac-Mégantic rail disaster has only intensified the need to address hydrocarbon transportation safety.”

The report admitted that the unimaginable loss of life, property damage and permanent environmental damage caused by the incident led the committee to believe a major overhaul of the industry’s safety regime is vital. He alleged that “the committee believes the Lac-Mégantic tragedy could have the same impact on the rail industry as the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill has had on marine oil transportation. Namely, it resulted in significant changes in tanker design and a major overhaul of Canada’s marine spill preparedness and response programs.”

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