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Canada Begins an Oil Train Safety Tax

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The national Canadian government is in the process of creating a compensation fund to cover the possible costs of oil train crashes and derailments. They will finance this fund with a new tax on oil crude shippers.

The new fund is one of several new measures that the national government in Ottawa is planning to improve oil train safety in Canada.

Canadian officials have pledged that they would hold railroad companies and oil shippers more accountable for derailments. These new actions are largely in response to the deadly oil train wreck at Lac Megantic, Quebec two years ago that killed 47 people in a fiery explosion. That crash led to many new laws on oil train safety in the US and Canada, such as increased emergency preparedness as well as new rules about oil tanker cars.

There also have been other oil train derailments recently, one in West Virginia and the other in northern Ontario. Fortunately, there were no injuries in those cases.

Crude shippers in Canada must pay $1.32 US per metric ton of crude oil shipped on Canadian railroads.

We have seen the consequences of oil train derailments in our own state of Virginia. One oil train in Lynchburg derailed last year and several cars plunged into the James River. That led to some environmental consequences, but fortunately, no injuries.

We support stricter guidelines for railroad companies and oil shippers to minimize the chances of injuring the public in a derailment. It is our hope that the US government will continue to enhance the protection of the public by passing tougher regulations on oil shipments in the US.

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