FCM President Responds to TSB Rail Safety Recommendations (23/01/2014)
OTTAWA - The following statement was released by Claude Dauphin, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), regarding the release of preliminary recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board related to the July 2013 train derailment and fire in Lac Mégantic, Quebec:
"The recommendations released by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) underscore the need for urgent action by the railway industry and the federal government to ensure the safe movement of dangerous goods by rail.
Since the tragedy in Lac Mégantic, FCM has been leading calls for railway companies and Transport Canada to conduct a comprehensive review of all possible safety risks to our cities and communities posed by the transportation of dangerous goods by rail. Today's TSB report reaffirms that robust risk assessments and more importantly, sufficient measures to reduce those risks, are essential to protect our communities.
We are pleased that the TSB and the American National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have reaffirmed the need to address the higher risk posed by tank cars that are not appropriate for shipping certain volatile liquids. The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Advisory Council is making technical recommendations to the Minister on this issue by the end of January, and we expect a comprehensive plan for tank cars to be implemented as soon as possible. We are actively involved in these discussions.
The TSB is also calling on the federal government to consider requiring Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPs) for large-volume shipments. FCM's position on this issue is very clear: we expect Emergency Response Assistance Plans to be in place for all dangerous goods products that pose a serious hazard to our communities. Today's TSB report reaffirms the necessity of expanding ERAPs to crude oil products. We are also recommending that other exempt flammable liquids like ethanol also require ERAPs. We cannot afford to wait to make this important change.Our partnership with the federal government is already producing positive changes and we expect to make similar progress on the remaining safety issues. Canadians rightly expect to see real, workable solutions that will keep their communities safe.