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Oilsands crude by rail?

A task force report has been handed in to the British Columbia and Alberta governments that examines the idea of transporting oilsands' crude via rail if proposed pipelines don't get the green light, government documents show.

It's an idea the environmental group ForestEthics calls "underhanded."

It's a "backdoor way for industry to bring tankers to the coast without the same sort of public oversight or public process that we’ve had around the Enbridge pipeline or would have around the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” said Ben West, campaign director for ForestEthics.

A joint provincial working group was announced by premiers Christy Clark and Alison Redford in July to develop recommendations related to energy exports and the opening of new export markets for products like bitumen for the two provinces, including pipeline and rail transport.

"Rail can be considered a viable alternative to pipeline movement based on costs of transport," the terms of reference for the group states. "If pipelines are not developed, rail will step into the void to deliver bitumen to the West Coast."

West said the report raises safety questions, especially in light of two recent high-profile train accidents.

What do you think? Are you OK with oilsands crude being transported by rail? Take our poll.

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