moved for leave to introduce Bill C-304, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (transport of dangerous goods by rail).
Mr. Speaker, in 2005, my community of Wabamun Lake suffered the devastating impacts of a train derailment and spill of 700,000 litres of bunker C fuel and pole oil into our lake, with a sizeable amount still remaining.
That same summer, a train derailed spilling sodium hydroxide into the Cheakamus River in British Columbia, killing more than 500,000 fish.
In 2013, a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed in the town of Lac-Mégantic, killing more than 40 people and leaving the community traumatized to this day.
I arrived in this place determined to seek action on rail safety. Today, I am tabling a bill to strengthen measures to assess and regulate rail shipping of dangerous cargo.
My bill would make two significant changes to federal laws on rail safety and environmental assessment.
First, it would impose a mandatory duty to undertake a federal environmental assessment of any activity potentially dangerous to health and the environment, and it would extend the right to concerned communities to request such a review, including concerns about rail.
Second, my bill would amend the Railway Safety Act to require additional approval for specified volumes of dangerous cargo. This is critical, as dangerous rail traffic is reported to have increased a thousandfold over recent years, and the National Energy Board is forecasting an additional tenfold increase over the next 25 years. It is time for preventive action.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)