Quebec says Canadian Pacific should help pay rail disaster costs

OTTAWA Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:53am EDT

OTTAWA Aug 15 (Reuters) - The government of the Canadian province of Quebec has added Canadian Pacific Railway to the list of companies it says should help pay clean-up costs after an oil tanker train disaster in July that killed 47 people.

The train, operated by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA), derailed and blew up in the eastern Quebec town of Lac-Megantic on July 6, spilling some 1.48 million U.S. gallons (5.6 million liters) of oil.

MMA filed for bankruptcy protection last week.

Quebec said on Wednesday it had added Canadian Pacific to a legal list of companies it is ordering to help pay for the clean-up operation.

A government statement said the Canadian Pacific was hired to transport the tanker cars of oil and had done a deal with MMA, which ran the rail line that passed through eastern Quebec.

"Our duty is to do all we can to ensure that the firms responsible for this accident bear the costs linked to the clean-up and decontamination," Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet said in the statement.

Canadian Pacific had no initial comment but said it would respond later on Thursday.

Canada announced on Tuesday it would shut down MMA on August 20, saying the firm did not have enough insurance.

In a court filing, MMA said its insurance covered liabilities up to C$25 million ($24.2 million), while clean-up costs could exceed C$200 million.