Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa Commits Up to $95 Million for Lac-Megantic Decontamination

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa Commits Up to $95 Million for Lac-Megantic Decontamination

Article excerpt

Feds to spend up to $95 million in Lac-Megantic cleanup

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LAC-MEGANTIC, Que. - Ottawa and Quebec shared a rare moment of solidarity Thursday, agreeing to split the estimated $190 million price tag to decontaminate the devastated town of Lac-Megantic.

Last summer, a runaway tanker train carrying crude oil rumbled into the heart of the Quebec community, jumped the tracks and exploded in a fiery crash that killed 47 people.

The derailment levelled the town's centre and spewed millions of litres of crude into the environment, contaminating the soil as well as a nearby river and lake.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the region Thursday and pledged to help cover up to $95 million of the cleanup cost, one-half of the overall estimate made by the Quebec government.

"I know there is no amount of money that can erase the painful memories...but you have to know that our government is doing everything in its power to support you," Harper told a news conference at the Lac-Megantic golf course, a few kilometres from the centre of town.

"The events of July 6, 2013, profoundly touched all Canadians from one end of the country to the other.

"Above all, they noticed your resilience, your determination and your pure desire to rebuild."

The provincial intergovernmental affairs minister reacted positively to Harper's commitment, even though members of the sovereigntist Parti Quebecois government were not present for the announcement.

"We're happy that at the end of the day we'll share the bill with the federal government," Alexandre Cloutier said in Quebec City, adding he believes Harper will be true to his word.

"I'm convinced he said the truth at the press conference."

The announcement follows Ottawa's earlier commitment to spend $60 million on emergency response and to relaunch the local economy.

Harper's visit to Lac-Megantic, about a three-hour drive east of Montreal, was his third since the disaster. …

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