Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. on Thursday slammed an order issued by the government of Canada's Quebec stating it has been included among a list of companies financially accountable for the cleanup of Lac-Megantic town which was severely devastated in a train derailment disaster in July.
"As a matter of fact, and law, CP Rail is not responsible for this clean-up. CP Rail will be appealing," Ed Greenberg, CP Rail spokesman, told AFP.
The wayward train traveled 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) down a descending grade from Nantes to Lac-Mégantic.
On Wednesday, the government of Quebec included CP Rail on the list of companies targeted to help with the decontamination costs involving the derailment of a runaway crude train by Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA) on July 6 in Lac-Mégantic. Some 47 people died from that accident.
In its order, the provincial government maintained that CP Rail was financially accountable because it was the one that had contracted MMA to move the crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale fields to an Irving Oil refinery in New Brunswick. It involved a total of 72 tanker cars.
Quebec's decision to include other railway companies comes after the U.S.-based MMA filed for bankruptcy protection both in Canada and in the U.S. last week. The government on Wednesday announced it will be suspended the license to operate of MMA as well as its Canadian subsidiary. A total cancellation of the license is likewise possible.
Read: License to Operate of Rail Firm Involved in Quebec Disaster Gets Suspended, Operations Likely to be Permanently Cancelled in Canada
On hearing the flat rejection of CP Rail, Yves-François Blanchet, environment minister, hinted it might be best for the company to follow orders because a provision for options were not provided.
"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," Mr Blanchet said in a statement. "It's not optional."
Based from figures released by the Développement durable, Environnement, Faune et Parcs de Québec, the July fatal wayward train explosion burned or spilled a whopping 5.63 million litres of oil into the environment.
"Our duty is to do all we can to ensure that the firms responsible for this accident bear the costs linked to the cleanup and decontamination," Mr Blanchet added.
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