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CP derailment spills small amount of oil in northern Ontario

Rail tank cars at CP’s yard near Vancouver. A small amount of oil has leaked near a small northern Ontario community following a second Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. derailment in a week.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

A small amount of oil has leaked near a small northern Ontario community following a second Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. derailment in a week.

Some 22 cars left the tracks near White River, Ont., at 7:50 a.m. Wednesday, the Transportation Safety Board said in a statement.

CP spokesman Ed Greenberg said in an e-mail that two of those cars "contained light sweet crude oil that temporarily leaked some product, which has been contained."

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The company has estimated that four barrels leaked, or 635 litres.

The derailment took place roughly 10 kilometres west of White River, which is a 400-kilometre drive east of Thunder Bay.

White River mayor Angelo Bazzoni said the spill is not near a river or other water.

"It's out in the middle of nowhere. There's no immediate risk to our community," he said.

Rail tank cars carry between 500 and 700 barrels of oil. Transportation of oil by rail has exploded in recent years, as a shortage of pipeline capacity prompts crude producers to find alternative ways to market.

Last Wednesday, another CP derailment spilled roughly 350 barrels of oil – or less than 56,700 litres – on frozen ground in western Minnesota.

Though both pipelines and railways safely move an overwhelming percentage of their crude – more than 99.99 per cent makes it to destination without incident – environmentalists see the second CP spill as further evidence of the hazards of transporting crude across the continent.

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"Switching to rail to move oil just creates a new set of risks. We need to invest in green alternatives, not new ways to spill oil," said Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaign co-ordinator for Greenpeace Canada.

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About the Author
Asia Bureau Chief

Nathan VanderKlippe is the Asia correspondent for The Globe and Mail. He was previously a print and television correspondent in Western Canada based in Calgary, Vancouver and Yellowknife, where he covered the energy industry, aboriginal issues and Canada’s north.He is the recipient of a National Magazine Award and a Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. More


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