Thursday, March 5, 2015

Federal Gov't News

Tougher on Trains Too  

Estimated 10 derailments a year in the US mean oil trains face tougher regulations

By Robert Pearsall, PA to MP Mark Strahl


ew minimum insurance requirements; new levies for crude oil shippers; and enhanced oversight and information sharing are among the changes contained in Bill C-52: Safe and Accountable Rail Act highlighted by Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP, Mark Strahl.


“Canada has a very strong safety regime for railways and the transportation of dangerous goods. These latest measures represent our commitment to further strengthen an already robust system,” said Strahl.


The new minimum insurance requirements and a compensation fund financed by levies on crude oil shippers will be consistent with those the Government has introduced for other modes of transportation such as marine tankers and oil pipelines. This “polluter pays” principle makes railways and shippers not taxpayers responsible for the cost of accidents.


Minimum insurance levels will vary from $25 million for no or low quantities of dangerous goods and up to a maximum of $1 billion for substantial quantities. Shippers of crude oil will be required to pay a levy per tonne of crude oil shipped to build up a supplementary fund to pay for damages exceeding insurance levels.


Bill C-52 would also broaden the powers of the Minister of Transport and inspectors to order railway companies and others to take specified measures to stop any activity deemed necessary for safe railway operations.


Railway companies would be required to share information with municipalities to increase collaboration between communities and the rail industry. This would address issues raised in the Transportation Safety’s Board’s final report on the Lac-Mégantic derailment.


The Government of Canada continues to make the safety and security of Canadians a top priority. This new legislation will improve railway safety and strengthen oversight while protecting taxpayers and making industry more accountable to communities,” Minister of Transport, the Honourable Lisa Raitt.


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