(OILPRICE) — On 6 July, a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train carrying 72 tank cars filled with oil exploded after its brakes apparently failed, sending it rolling into the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, where it derailed and then exploded. In the conflagration that followed, an estimated 47 people were killed.
Whether Canadians like it or not, the use of such trains has soared in recent years. The Railway Association of Canada reports that as recently as four years ago Canadian railways moved just 500 carloads of crude oil, but that number has now soared to about 140,000 carloads annually.
While currently only about three percent of Canadian crude is currently transported by rail, one industry predicts railway carriage of oil products rising to as high as 25 percent by 2035.
Now, in a breathtaking display of chutzpah, the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. is warning President Obama if he does not approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, then he can expect similar oil trains and even trucks to enter the U.S. Ambassador Gary Doer said, “His choice is to have it come down by a pipeline that he approves, or without his approval, it comes down on trains. That’s just the raw common sense of this thing, and we’ve been saying it for two years and we’ve been proven correct. At the end of the day, it’s trains or pipelines.”