August 29, 2005

Environment Canada probes Lake Wabamun derailment under two federal acts

EDMONTON, ALTA-Environment Canada is investigating the August 3 CN train derailment at Lake Wabamun, pursuant to section 5.1 of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) and subsection 36 (3) of the Fisheries Act. Section 5.1 of the MBCA prohibits persons or vessels from depositing harmful substances in waters or areas frequented by migratory birds. Subsection 36 (3) of the Fisheries Act prohibits the deposit of any substance that is "deleterious" or harmful to fish and aquatic life. The federal department is working with the Alberta government, in accordance with a bilateral administrative agreement on enforcement, to establish a co-ordinated effort and ensure an effective investigation. Environment Canada has sent staff toxicologists, wildlife biologists, environmental specialists, meteorologists and environmental emergency officers to Lake Wabamun to provide assistance with sampling, shoreline assessment and cleanup techniques, wildlife monitoring, and oiled bird rehabilitation. These experts will also study the fate and behaviour of the spilled substances. More information is available from Hal Sommerstad, head of enforcement for Environment Canada's prairie and northern region, 780/951-8861.

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