Oil train disaster fund grows with Irving Oil's contribution

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A proposed settlement fund for victims of a fiery oil train derailment that killed 47 people across the border in Quebec has grown to $270 million (U.S.) with a contribution from Irving Oil, a bankruptcy trustee said Monday.

A court filing Friday in Canada identified 22 parties who have agreed to contribute, including Irving, which previously balked but now says it's providing $60 million to the fund.

Declining to participate in the settlement fund are World Fuel Services Corp., which owned the oil shipment, and Canadian Pacific Railroad, which transported the oil to Montreal. The oil was destined for an Irving-owned refinery in St. John, New Brunswick, but the train never reached its destination.

Much of downtown Lac Megantic was destroyed by a raging fire after the unattended Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train with 72 oil tankers derailed in the middle of the night.

Contributors to the settlement fund will be immune from lawsuits if courts agree to a global injunction, said Robert Keach, trustee in the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic bankruptcy in Maine.

Keach originally set a goal of a $500 million settlement fund. That goal could still be reached if World Fuel Services and Canadian Pacific agree to participate, he said.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic filed for bankruptcy soon after the disaster. The railroad's new owner, Central Maine and Quebec Railway, has resumed shipments of potentially dangerous goods such as propane and chemicals. The company has agreed not to ship crude oil through Lac Megantic until 2016, company officials said.