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Municipal federation says emergency response plans needed for oil transport

OTTAWA - Municipal leaders say they are making headway with the federal government on rail safety issues, but would like to see emergency response assistance plans for the transport of crude oil and ethanol.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt met today with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Ottawa, the latest meeting of a rail safety group set up in the wake of last summer's deadly derailment in Lac-Megantic, Que.

The accident took 47 lives after a runaway train loaded with crude oil left the tracks and exploded in the centre of the community, prompting an urgent reassessment of rail safety deficiencies across Canada.

On Thursday, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada is set to announce three new safety recommendations as part of its ongoing investigation of the Lac-Megantic crash.

Claude Dauphin, the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, says there is currently no requirement to have an emergency response plan for shipments of crude oil — a gap that needs to be addressed without downloading the cost onto municipal ratepayers.

The federal transport minister issued a release following today's meeting that called rail safety a "shared responsibility amongst international partners, provinces, territories, municipalities and industry."

The Canadian Press

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