$200 Million Settlement Just 'A First Step' Towards Justice for Lac-Megantic Disaster Victims
'This is a good first step towards bringing some justice to our clients for what happened, but it’s a first step,' said lawyer for impacted families
People harmed by the 2013 oil train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec—which killed 47 people and set much of the downtown ablaze—have reached a $200 million settlement with some of the parties responsible.
"On Friday, lawyers for the claimants filed a draft compensation plan with the Quebec Superior Court," the Toronto Star reports. "The deal also requires the approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in May and payments are expected to be distributed to the victims as soon as this summer."
The private and now-defunct Montreal Maine and Atlantic Canada Co. (MMAC), its insurance carrier, rail-car manufacturers, and some oil producers are included in the settlement, according to the Star.
"This is a good first step towards bringing some justice to our clients for what happened, but it’s a first step," said Peter Flowers, the lawyer for some of the impacted families.
But not all parties responsible, at this point, are being made the pay. "The three defendants — World Fuel Services, Canadian Pacific Railway and Irving Oil — who are not contributing anything to this settlement need to be held responsible, Flowers noted. "We intend to continue to pursue them in courts."
An investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada released last August found that the disaster was caused by government and industry failures, including efforts by the MMAC to cut corners in training, maintenance, and safety.
The explosion raised concerns across the U.S. and Canada about the rapid expansion of oil by rail transportation amid the boom in fracked shale oil. According to an analysis by ForestEthics, approximately 25 million people in the U.S. live in the one-mile potential blast zone in the event of an oil train derailment.