Remembering the Victims of Lac-Megantic Tragedy, Governor to Attend Memorial Mass

July 24, 2013

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 24
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – To pay tribute to those who perished in the July 6 train derailment and fires in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Governor Paul R. LePage will attend a memorial mass Saturday for the victims. Prior to the ceremony, the Governor will meet with Lac-Megantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche and other Canadian dignitaries.

“With a heavy heart, I will visit Lac Megantic, Quebec,” said Governor LePage. “While a line divides our countries, it does not divide our people and it is important for Maine to support our northern neighbors during this time of need.”

Maine-Canada Trade Ombudsman Daniel Deveau, who works within the Office of the Governor, travelled to Lac Megantic last week with a Maine Delegation from Franklin County. The Delegation assessed the needs of the area in an effort to provide ongoing support for the community.

“For years these two communities have forged relationships to share culture and economic growth. And in difficult times like this those bonds extend even farther,” the Governor said. “Recovery work remains, and I have pledged to the people of Lac Megantic and the region our support.”

Meanwhile, the LePage Administration continues to address environmental and transportation needs within the State of Maine as it relates to railroad safety. Immediately following the derailment, Governor LePage issued an Executive Order directing the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to review the safety of freight rail transportation.

Additionally, Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt has sent a letter to all five freight railroads operating in Maine requesting review and submission of best practices regarding the securing of parked freight trains.

A direct line of communication has been established between MaineDOT and the Quebec Ministry of Transportation’s Rail office to discuss safety concerns and improvements, as well as operational concerns of moving rail traffic in the State and in Quebec with the Maine, Montreal and Atlantic line out of service in Lac Megantic.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) under the leadership of Commissioner Patricia Aho has reassured Maine citizens that in the event of a similar disaster in Maine, the Department would immediately respond to minimize the impacts to our natural resources and environment.

The Department has 25 responders who are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and are trained to respond to oil and hazardous materials spills of all sizes. “Mainers can be assured that DEP is proactive about protecting our significant natural resources,” said Commissioner Aho.

As a result of the increase in barrels of crude oil shipped by rail in Maine, DEP created a rail response coordination team to develop comprehensive spill response maps, strategies and plans to be prepared in the event of an oil spill. Members of the Response Division rode with Maine Montreal and Atlantic in high rail cars along the route from the Canadian border to Greenville and identified points of access and areas to stage equipment. DEP is also using mapping software to overlay sensitive environmental receptors near the rail lines.

Maine’s air, land or water quality has not been impacted by the devastating train derailment and subsequent fires in Lac Megantic, Quebec.