Canadian Pacific says it holds no financial responsibility for the Lac-Megantic disaster and is rejecting a legal demand by the provincial government that it help fund the cleanup of the devastated Quebec town.
The railway has announced that it will appeal the legal order.
The news comes one day after the provincial government added CPR to a list of defendants that it says are responsible for paying for the cleanup.
That legal notice demands that the companies follow a provincial law that holds businesses accountable for the financial impact of an environmental disaster.
“Canadian Pacific has reviewed the notice. As a matter of fact, and law, CP is not responsible for this cleanup,” said railway spokesman Ed Greenberg.
“CP will be appealing.”
The province says CPR was the main contractor responsible for the fateful shipment that was supposed to send crude oil from North Dakota to a New Brunswick oil refinery.
It handed off the train in Montreal to the smaller Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd., which then operated the tanker train that jumped the tracks in Lac-Megantic on July 6.
The disaster killed 47 people and prompted a mass evacuation, a criminal investigation, lawsuits, and concerns that the community of 6,000 might have to abandon its downtown core.
MMA is already among the other companies on the legal notice but the small railway has said it can’t afford to pay and has requested bankruptcy protection.