Groups holding anniversary vigil about Lac-Megantic disaster | News

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Groups holding anniversary vigil about Lac-Megantic disaster

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Two groups gathered in Portland's Monument Square Monday to commemorate the second anniversary of the Lac-Megantic, Quebec train derailment, and to advocate for cleaner energy.

Forty-seven people were killed and a large chunk of downtown Lac-Megantic destroyed when an unmanned 72-car train jumped the track. More than 60 tankers derailed and several exploded.

Sierra Club Maine and 350 Maine organized Monday's event in Monument Square. The groups say the event is part of the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action taking place in more than 75 cities across North America.

Speakers honored the 47 victims, and a young Lac-Megantic firefighter who later took his life. There were also sketches of the victims hanging behind the group, who spoke about nine train derailments that have happened in the United States and Canada since the Lac-Megantic disaster.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement today marking the anniversary. It reads:

"Two years ago today, tragedy struck Lac-Mégantic when a train derailment caused a deadly explosion and fire. This horrific accident claimed the lives of 47 people, destroyed much of this community's downtown core, and caused great harm to the local economy and environment.

"Our Government has been clear: those who are found to have broken the law will be held to account and will face the consequences. Following a lengthy investigation, on June 22, 2015, charges were laid in connection with the tragic derailment under the Railway Safety Act and the Fisheries Act.

"It takes people of extraordinary strength to overcome such a disaster, and I was privileged to witness first-hand during my visits to Lac-Mégantic the remarkable resilience, pride and spirit of those in the community.

"Although nothing can erase the tragedy suffered by the people of Lac-Mégantic, our Government has worked hard with the province, municipality and community to rebuild the town so that its residents might return to a normal life and begin to heal.

"Signs of progress are everywhere. The decontamination of Lac-Mégantic's downtown core has advanced to the point where plans for rebuilding are now being put in place. Companies and businesses have resumed their activities, which have contributed to the town's economic recovery. As well, new projects such as La Marche du Vent footpath will provide a unique recreation trail as part of a rejuvenated downtown core.

"On this anniversary, all Canadians join the people of Lac-Mégantic in remembering, honouring and mourning those who were lost. It is also my deep hope that as time passes the spirit of the community, much like the town's architecture, will be fully restored and that all might know peace and prosperity. Our Government will continue working with our partners to make that happen."


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