Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Pacific Railway Refuses Order to Pay for Lac-Megantic

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Pacific Railway Refuses Order to Pay for Lac-Megantic

Article excerpt

CP Railway: We're not responsible for Lac-Megantic


MONTREAL - Canadian Pacific says it holds no financial responsibility for the Lac-Megantic rail disaster and has rejected a legal demand by the Quebec government that it help pay for the cleanup in the devastated town.

The railway announced Thursday that it will appeal the province's legal order.

The news came one day after the provincial government added CPR (TSX:CP) to a list of defendants that it says are responsible for picking up the tab for the massive mop-up in Lac-Megantic, where a train derailed on July 6 and dumped millions of litres of crude oil into the environment.

"Canadian Pacific has reviewed the notice. As a matter of fact, and law, CP is not responsible for this cleanup," railway spokesman Ed Greenberg said Thursday.

"CP will be appealing."

That legal notice demands that the companies named follow a provincial law that holds businesses accountable for the financial impact of an environmental disaster.

The Quebec government argues that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for the cleanup. However, attempts so far to ascribe financial liability have produced a flurry of finger-pointing between various public and private interests.

Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet, who signed the order, responded quickly Thursday to CPR's position.

"I will leave it up to lawyers, but let's be clear: under the law on environmental quality, the minister does not ask for, or suggest, compensation ... he orders it," Blanchet said in a statement.

"It's not optional."

The disaster killed 47 people and led to a mass evacuation in the community of 6,000. The derailment has since prompted a criminal investigation, several lawsuits, and concerns that locals may have to abandon Lac-Megantic's oil-soaked downtown core.

In the legal notice, the province said CPR was the main contractor responsible for the fateful shipment that was supposed to transport crude from North Dakota oil fields to New Brunswick's Irving refinery. …

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