Early morning on February 6th, 2020, a Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed in Canada — leaking of crude oil and catching fire. The crash, less than 2 miles from the town of Guernsey, Saskatchewan, resulted in a complete evacuation of their community. The Canadian Press reported over 422,000 gallons of crude oil spilled as a result of the derailment. Disturbing photos and videos show the massive pile up of 31 cars and the resulting inferno.
Last week’s derailment was the second near Guernsey within a two month period. On December 9, 2019, just several miles away from Guernsey, another train derailed, spilling 400,000 gallons of crude oil.
On average there are close to 3 derailments/day across the US, any of which can result in catastrophic consequences. Newly engineered oil tank cars don’t guarantee safer transportation. These cars have now failed in five out of five major train derailments.
It is clear to us at the Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper that crude oil should not be shipped by rail. An oil spill in our lake or river would have lasting impacts on our local economy and environment.
Update April 2020: Broken rail is suspected to be the cause of these two devastating train derailments. In 2015, broken joint bars or a broken rail were determined as factors contributing to two crude other train derailments. Transport Canada needs to update their regulations due to increased train traffic and heavier trains traveling along the tracks in order to prevent future train derailments.