Company found guilty of Fisheries Act violation in Lac-Mégantic derailment case

The Lac-Mégantic derailment site following the accident. Photo Credit: Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

On February 5, 2018,  Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Canada Co. (MMA) was found guilty, in the Court of Quebec, of unlawfully depositing or permitting the deposit of crude oil, a deleterious substance, into the Mégantic Lake and the Chaudière River, waters frequented by fish, contrary to the Fisheries Act.

On July 6, 2013, a MMA train carrying 7.7 million litres of petroleum crude oil in 72 tank cars derailed in the centre of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. According to the Transporation Safety Board of Canada, almost all of the 63 derailed tank cars were damaged and breached, quickly releasing 6 million litres of petroleum crude oil.

The fire and blaze destroyed most of the town’s downtown core and left 47 people dead. Another 2,000 people were forced from their homes.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, MMA was fined $1,000,000, an amount that will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund. The funds will be used to support projects focused on the Mégantic Lake and the Chaudière River, waters which were directly impacted by the spill of crude oil.

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  1. Excellent but sadly, the relatives of those deceased did not put in place a proper legal action. Had they, they would have brought legal changes to the railway act. For a book that detail many successful environment legal actions in Canada , see A Radioactive Waste Dump In Malvern; A Citizen’s Account, Create Space, 2016, which documents a successful legal action that brought case law as it applies to waste on/in land in Canada.


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