CNR settles derailment damages

Canadian National Railway (CNR) has come to a settlement on charges arising from a major spill caused by a derailments. The first was at Wabamun, Alberta, in August 2005, and another spill occurred two days later near Cheakamus, B.C.

CNR said today it will pay $1.8 million to resolve the cases. Most of this money will go to environmental and emergency response programs in Alberta and British Columbia

CNR said it and its insurance companies, spent more than $132 million on remediation and compensation following the Wabamun Lake spill.

The railway agreed last September to pay $10 million to the Paul Band over the derailment. This incident dumped almost 800,000 litres of bunker oil and wood preservative, into the lake west of Edmonton on August 3rd, 2005. This spill killed birds fish, and polluted the shoreline. Authorities had to truck drinking water into the area for 18 months.

Canadian National said that monitoring now shows only a minimal solid tarball presence on the lake floor. This tarball poses no risk to humans or wildlife.

The August 5th, 2005 incident near Squamish, B.C. was a different kind of spill. This was 40,000 litres of sodium hydroxide - caustic soda. This went into the Cheakamus River. The river quickly returned to natural conditions, but remediation work is ongoing to rebuild the fish populations.

More than 500,000 fish were killed, after nine cars derailed on the Cheakamus Canyon bridge. It may take decades to recover the stocks of salmon and other species.