Study shows high pollution at Lac-Mégantic: one carcinogen 394,444 times above limit – The Globe and Mail

Study shows high pollution at Lac-Mégantic: one carcinogen 394,444 times above limit – The Globe and Mail.

Quebec’s Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster not just tragedy, but corporate crime | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Quebec’s Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster not just tragedy, but corporate crime | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

The deeper evidence about this event won’t be found in the train’s black box, or by questioning the one engineer who left the train before it loosened and careened unmanned into the heart of this tiny town. For that you’ll have to look at how Lac-Mégantic was hit by a perfect storm of greed, deregulation and an extreme energy rush driving companies to ever greater gambles with the environment and human life.

The crude carried on the rail-line of US-based company Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway – “fracked” shale oil from North Dakota – would not have passed through Lac-Mégantic five years ago. That’s because it’s part of a boom in dirty, unconventional energy, as fossil fuel companies seek to supplant the depletion of easy oil and gas with new sources – sources that are harder to find, nastier to extract, and more complicated to ship.

Like the Alberta tar sands, or the shale deposits of the United States, these energy sources are so destructive and carbon-intensive that leading scientists have made a straightforward judgment: to avert runaway climate change, they need to be kept in the ground. It’s a sad irony that Quebec is one of the few places to currently ban the “fracking” used to extract the Dakotan oil that devastated Lac-Mégantic.

But fossil fuel companies, spurred by record profits, have deployed a full-spectrum strategy to exploit and carry this oil to market. That’s one of the reasons for a massive, reckless increase in the amount of oil shipped by rail. In 2009, companies shipped a mere 500 carloads of crude oil by rail in Canada; this year, it will be 140,000.

Train carrying flammable liquid derails, bursts into flames in Canada – CNN.com

Train carrying flammable liquid derails, bursts into flames in Canada – CNN.com.

Official calls well leak ‘very, very worrying’

Official calls well leak ‘very, very worrying’.

Official calls well leak ‘very, very worrying’

By Kevin Dougherty, Montreal Gazette January 28, 2011
Workers drill for natural gas in Hickory, Pa. The industry claims shale gas extraction is safe, but problems at wells in Quebec are worrying officials.

Workers drill for natural gas in Hickory, Pa. The industry claims shale gas extraction is safe, but problems at wells in Quebec are worrying officials.

Photograph by: Jeff Swensen, NYT

QUEBEC – An Environment Department official calls an uncontrolled gas leak at a shale gas well near St. Hyacinthe “very, very worrying,” and fears the leak “could lead to contamination of underground water.”

The well, operated by Calgary-based Canbriam Energy Quebec Partnership, is giving off methane gas that could threaten “the life, health, safety, well-being or comfort of human beings,” the Environment Department says in a notice sent the company.

“We ask you to proceed immediately with the necessary corrections to stop these emissions,” the notice adds. “As well, safety measures at the site should be established to ensure the protection of persons and property.”

Quebec should ‘go slow’ on shale gas: experts

Quebec should ‘go slow’ on shale gas: experts.