Retiring Old Rail Tanker Cars is Good But . . .

Image of Stephen Hazell

Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel

Nature Canada congratulates Transport Minister Marc Garneau on the government’s decision on July 25th to retire the older DOT-111 rail tanker cars early. These cars were involved in the deadly Lac-Megantic tragedy, as well as the Lake Wabamun bunker oil spill and the Cheakamus River caustic soda spill.

But the transport of oil and other dangerous goods by rail will still be too hazardous to protect public safety and nature even with the retirement of the DOT-111 cars on November 1; there are over 100 incidents involving dangerous goods every year in Canada.

Nature Canada’s view is that rail transport of dangerous needs to be regulated by an independent regulatory body, not a government department that is too often subject to political and bureaucratic pressures. A first start would be to require federal environmental assessments for all new rail infrastructure projects for transporting oil and gas. (Yes, you are perhaps surprised that this is not the case already!)

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