Bombs in Our Backyards


The hospitals prepared for an influx of wounded that never came. People either escaped or they died. The youngest victim was four years old; the oldest was 93. In all, 47 people died on the night of July 6, 2013, when an out-of-control oil train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed in the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic, 22 miles from the U.S. border. The fireball that destroyed half of Lac-Mégantic burned for two days. Seven victims were never found. According to the coroner’s office, they were “completely vaporized.” The few town buildings that survived the conflagration were later razed because of oil contamination. Lac-Mégantic was obliterated.

The railroad operator has since gone bankrupt, forcing the community and local government to shoulder the cost — close to $2 billion — of cleaning up and rebuilding the town.

Read more at Coming Clean

Issues: Environmental Protection, Fossil Fuels, Oil

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About the Author

Michael Brune

Executive Director, Sierra Club

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Michael Brune is the executive director of the Sierra Club and the author of Coming Clean: Breaking America’s Addiction to Oil and Coal (2010). During Brune’s nearly three years as the Sierra Club’s executive director, the organization has grown to more than two million supporters, and its Beyond Coal campaign has been recognized as one […]

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