CN settles all charges related to 2005 derailments in Alta. and B.C.

    EDMONTON, May 25 /CNW Telbec/ - CN (TSX: CNR)(NYSE:   CNI) today announced
that it has reached settlements on all outstanding charges related to
derailments that occurred at Wabamun, Alta. on Aug. 3, 2005 and at Cheakamus,
B.C. on Aug. 5, 2005.
    Under the terms of the settlements, CN will pay a total of $1.8 million
to resolve the charges. Most of that - some $1.65 million - will be directed
to various environmental and emergency response programs in Alberta and
British Columbia. These programs, designated by the provincial and federal
governments with CN's input, will support the prevention and remediation of
future environmental incidents, both rail and non-rail related.
    In addition, CN will continue to work with provincial and federal
authorities to further enhance its emergency response plans and to partner
with those authorities in environmental sensitivity mapping of bodies of water
along its rail lines in B.C. and Alberta.
    "These settlements are focused on the future and on what's best for the
environment," said CN president and chief executive officer Hunter Harrison.
"CN will continue to strengthen Emergency Response procedures, while
maintaining its commitment to do everything in its power to prevent accidents
from occurring."
    Immediately following both derailments, CN launched a number of measures
to remediate the damage that occurred.
    At Wabamun, CN hired international experts to guide its remediation
programs that were carried out by hundreds of workers over the course of many
months. CN retained independent experts to assist affected residents to
resolve spill-related issues. It established depots of containment boom and
wildlife recovery supplies in Alberta and B.C., for use in any incident that
requires such material. CN achieved fair and reasonable out-of-court financial
settlements with parties affected by the derailment and spill, including Lake
Wabamun residents and the Paul Band First Nation.
    In total, CN and its insurers spent in excess of $132 million to
remediate the effects of the Wabamun derailment and spill, and to compensate
affected stakeholders.
    Today, ongoing testing and monitoring show no traces of oil remain in the
water column. Minimal solid tarball presence on the lake floor poses no risk
to humans, fish, wildlife or habitat. Nevertheless, testing and monitoring
programs remain in place as part of CN's ongoing commitment to the people of
Wabamun and Alberta.
    Regarding the Aug. 5, 2005 incident near Squamish B.C., all parties have
agreed that CN reported the spill to the Provincial Emergency Program
immediately following the derailment and spill of sodium hydroxide into the
Cheakamus River, and responded promptly and appropriately to the release of
the product. Within 24 hours, the river had returned to natural conditions,
and the river was re-opened to the public within 48 hours. There were no
effects on downstream potable water wells.
    CN's remediation efforts focused on rebuilding the affected fish
    In Aug. 2005, CN along with the District of Squamish, Fisheries and
Oceans Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and the Squamish
First Nation formed the Cheakamus Ecosystem Restoration Technical Committee
(CERTC). The objective of CERTC is to rehabilitate and restore the Cheakamus
River as quickly as possible.
    In support of this goal, CN has spent approximately $5.3 million in
funding CERTC, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and supporting a District of
Squamish marketing initiative to promote the region as the outdoor recreation
capital of Canada.
    CN's funding continues and it remains involved in efforts to rehabilitate
and restore the impacted fish and habitat of the Cheakamus River, including
working with environmental consultants and experts on fish recovery and
habitat enhancement.
    Recovery efforts are progressing and the Cheakamus River is responding
well. For example, several recovery strategies, including fish culture and
habitat enhancements have been implemented; and these strategies are expected
to accelerate the recovery of the Cheakamus River ecosystem to a pre-spill
state, as well as remediating pre-existing environmental issues that were
affecting local fish populations.
    As well, a number of different monitoring programs have been implemented
which provide information on species recovery and effectiveness of recovery
    In addition to funding the rehabilitation and recovery of the Cheakamus
River, CN has established the Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund to compliment
other recovery efforts. The $2 million fund encourages enhancement projects by
local environmental stewardship groups. To date, there have been a dozen
approved projects.
    "These programs show that CN has lived up to the commitments it made at
the time of these unfortunate incidents," said Harrison. "We said we would
repair any damage done and fairly compensate those affected. We have done what
we said we would do."

    CN - Canadian National Railway Company and its operating railway
subsidiaries spans Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans to the Gulf of Mexico, serving the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert,
B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the key
metropolitan areas of Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Duluth,
Minn./Superior, Wis., Green Bay, Wis., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, and
Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more
information on CN, visit the company's website at

For further information:

For further information: Contacts for CN: Media: Alberta: Jim Feeny,
Office: (780) 643-7730, Cell: (780) 910-0098,; Investment
Community: Robert Noorigian, Vice-President, (514) 399-0052,; British Columbia: Kelli Svendsen, Office: (604)
589-6512, Cell: (604) 240-7037,

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890