Jul. 7, 2022

Lac-Megantic is one big reason for pipelines

July 6, 2022 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the ninth anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy:

“Nine years ago, a train carrying crude oil derailed, caught fire, and exploded in the heart of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. This tragedy took the lives of 47 people, forced many more to leave their homes, and destroyed much of the downtown.

 

“On this solemn day, I join the people of Lac-Mégantic and all Canadians in honouring the victims of this horrible tragedy. It was the deadliest railway accident in our modern history and no community should ever have to experience what Lac-Mégantic and the neighbouring communities went through.

“The safety of all Canadians is our top priority and we continue to take actions to strengthen regulatory requirements. In May, we updated both the Canadian Rail Operating Rules and the Railway Locomotive Inspection and Safety Rules to bring an additional layer of protection for the communities who live and work along rail lines and help prevent accidents like this tragedy from happening again.

The Government of Canada continues to work with our provincial, municipal, and private sector partners to ensure the safety of the people in the region and to support the affected communities, including by completing the Lac-Mégantic rail bypass project, and we continue to engage the people of Lac-Mégantic and the neighbouring communities as we move forward with the next steps.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I encourage all Canadians to remember those whose lives were tragically lost or changed forever on July 6, 2013. To the people of Lac‑Mégantic: your strength, resilience, and courage are an inspiration to all.”

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Lac‑Mégantic is on the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic railway that operated in the states of Maine and Vermont and Quebec between 2002 and 2014. It was headquartered in Hermon, Maine.

The Canadian subsidiary was named the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Canada Company with offices in Farnham, Quebec.

MMA and its Canadian subsidiary entered Chapter 11/CCAA bankruptcy protection in August 2013 as a direct result of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in July 2013 which resulted in an estimated $200 million in damages and the deaths of 47 people.

MMA's assets were sold at auction to Railroad Acquisition Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group, LLC on January 21, 2014. Railroad Acquisition Holdings, LLC established a new railroad named Central Maine and Quebec Railway to operate the former MMA rail lines. The CM&Q was acquired by Canadian Pacific Railway in June 2020.

The Trudeau government has made a big deal of the construction of a rail by-pass around the town of Lac-Mégantic but his government is responsible for the safe operation of the rail line. There are hundreds of miles of rail lines running through towns and cities across Canada. The Lac-Mégantic by-pass is only one of the thousands needed for public safety.

The Trudeau government banned the construction of pipelines, resulting in both domestic and imported petroleum products including crude oil, diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, and LNG being transported by rail and tanker truck. The nation is riddled with disasters waiting to happen.

There is something wrong when a government refuses to take advantage of the safe transport of petroleum products by pipeline. Monitoring technology and safety standards have improved vastly in recent years. Canada should be actively replacing old pipelines with new ones and building more to move products across the nation and to export ports.

We are sitting on oil reserves that can make us energy self-sufficient for a couple of centuries and export our products to the third world at prices it can afford. Third-world nations cannot raise themselves out of poverty without petroleum energy to create the needed infrastructure.

The ideological exercise of blindly following the dictates of the United Nations promoting an unproven carbon emissions hypothesis is a cynical and despicable abandonment of the future and security of Canadians.

Members of the European Union have discovered they are dependent on petroleum and will be in the foreseeable future. Renewable energy is still a pipe-dream in its infancy. When some of the best engineers in the world can’t make the green dream work, we must get back to the drawing board.