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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

CN Rail settles charges over two derailments

"Canadian National Railway Co. CNR-T has settled all environmental charges stemming from two high-profile derailments in Western Canada in 2005, the company said yesterday. The railroad will pay $1.8-million to resolve federal and provincial charges stemming from the crashes, which allowed oil to leak into Lake Wabamun in Alberta and dropped caustic soda into British Columbia's Cheakamus River. Neither accident caused human injury, but the Cheakamus River spill created a large fish kill and both incidents led to authorities filing environmental charges against Canada's largest railway. Canadian National and its insurers have paid more than $132-million on cleanup and compensation costs stemming from the Lake Wabamun accident, which was caused by a broken rail, the company said. The railway said it has also spent more than $7-million on fish restoration and other habitat programs because of the Cheakamus accident near Squamish, British Columbia, that investigators linked to CN's switch to running longer trains in the difficult terrain." (source:

CN may have settled its charges, however what will be the short-term and long-term effects of the oil and the caustic soda which was poured into these rivers?

Apparently, "the oil spilled into Lake Wabamun is a "potentially harmful pole-treating oil" The oil contains polycyclic aromatic compounds, which can cause skin cancer. Residents were also urged Wednesday not to handle wildlife hurt by the spill, which included 70,000 litres of thick, gooey bunker C oil." source:

Caustic soda is extremely toxic to life. If the caustic soda is in the air it can cause living things to experience labored breathing, shortness of breath, burns to the skin, and blurred vision. If this chemical is inadvertantly swallowed (by someone who is eating lunch perhaps and has some of the caustic soda on his or her hands), it can cause abdominal pain, shock or collapse.The substance is very corrosive to the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract.


I wonder what steps have been taken (if any) to monitor all life which has been exposed to these toxins over the long-term?

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.