U.S. EPA settles with Maine-based rail company over alleged Clean Water Act violations

June 19, 2024
The U.S. EPA has settled with a Maine-based rail transportation company for alleged Clean Water Act violations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 12, 2024, that they have reached an agreement with a railroad transportation company headquartered in Bangor, Maine, resolving alleged Clean Water Act violations for fuel oil discharges into waters of the United States from two separate derailments of company-owned freight train cars.

Central Maine & Quebec Railway US Inc. is a railroad transportation company and subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Kansas City ("Canadian Pacific”). Canadian Pacific, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, operates over 12,500 miles of track, spanning several networks of cities and areas.

On two separate occasions in October 2022 and April 2023, the Canadian Pacific freight trains derailed in La Grange, Maine, and in the Sandwich Academy Grant Township near Brassua, Maine.

Both derailments resulted in a total of nearly 15,000 gallons of oil being spilled from the trains into local waterways, which ultimately flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The derailments occurred due to flood water erosion undermining railroad track beds, which led to the accumulation of spilled oil on the shoreline, and a fuel oil sheen on surface waters.

The company reported the oil spills to the National Response Center as required by law and have been paying for the environmental and emergency response costs in both areas.

Under the terms of the settlement, Canadian Pacific paid a penalty of $16,544, in addition to completing a supplemental environmental project (SEP) in the form of an equipment donation. The SEP required the company to purchase and donate emergency equipment, including an off-road response vehicle, for the local fire department that first responded to the Sandwich Academy Grant Township derailment incident.

This equipment will help protect the community and surrounding environment from any future oil spill or other release of pollutants.

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