Friday, September 13, 2013

Arrests anticipated in Lac-Megantic's wake

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Quebec provincial law enforcement could begin making arrests soon due to the July 6 derailment and explosion of a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) train in Lac-Megantic.

Canadian media, beginning with Quebec's LCN news network, reported the potential development Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, citing a source in the Montreal judicial system. Initial arrests will be of individuals to be charged with criminal negligence.

MM&A individuals are potential subjects, as is the railroad itself and its parent, Rosemont, Ill.-based Rail World Inc. But others, including Wayzata. Minn.-based Dakota Plains Holdings, Inc., a developer and owner of transloading facilities for crude oil shipment, may also be charged for their role in loading crude oil into tank cars now being described by some as inadequately safe.

Canadian media note that under Article 219 of the Canadian criminal code, someone can be found guilty of criminal negligence if by doing something or omitting to do something that they are required to do they show reckless indifference to life or the security of others.

Authorities have been proceeding on the basis that such negligence is a major factor in the incident. On July 23, Quebec provincial police officials arrived with a warrant at the Farnham, Que., MM&A offices and searched the premises. MM&A's U.S. headquarters are in Hermon, Maine.

Early last month across the U.S.-Canadian border, the Federal Railroad Administration issued an Emergency Order (EO 28, Notice No. 1, 49 CFR 232.103[n]) and Safety Advisory (2013-06) "to help prevent trains operating on main line tracks or sidings from moving unintentionally," specifically, those hauling certain types of hazardous materials, such as crude oil and ethanol.