350 Maine Express Sadness over Lac-Megantic Tragedy

350 Maine Expresses Sadness, Offer Promises of Support Following Oil Train Disaster in Quebec

Meaghan LaSala: 973-862-7105

Nancy Galland: 207-322-1693

HERMON, Maine -- Members of environmental groups 350 Maine and Maine Earth First! will hold a press conference at noon in Hermon on Monday, July 8th in response to the tragic train accident that has claimed an undetermined number of lives in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The 73 car train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in a populated downtown area early Saturday morning, just nine days after six protesters were arrested in Fairfield, ME for blocking a similar train, also carrying fracked Bakken crude from North Dakota.

Nancy Galland is an organizer with 350 Maine said, “We who blockaded a similar train in a small town like Lac Megantic 12 days ago know that it could have happened here in Maine, it could be the Penobscot River that oil is pouring into as it is now, on the Chaudiere River in Quebec.”

350 Maine will offer support to the Lac-Megantic community, and await advice from a member who is with family there now. In addition to expressing commitment to the people of Lac-Megantic, 350 will be connecting the dots between climate change, the rapid increase in the extraction and transportation of fossil fuels, and the hazards posed to all communities involved.

Demonstrators who were arrested will be there to make statements, as well as residents from local towns along the route.

“Our fossil fuel addiction is turning vast areas of the planet into environmental sacrifice zones,” said Read Brugger of Freedom, one of those arrested in Fairfield.

The catastrophe in Lac-Megantic is drawing international attention to the dangers of transporting crude oil. With hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” technology, oil that has long been impossible to extract is now the source of an explosive oil boom in the Midwest. The pressure to get the crude oil to market has lead to an increase in the use of rail lines, which lack sufficient oversight. 350 Maine rejects any suggestions that pipelines are a viable alternative to rail transport. Pipelines spill more often and with greater volume than rail. 350 Maine advocates for a rapid decrease in the use of fossil fuels. As long as there are massive profits to be made, the energy industry is going to continue to derail every real conversation we try to have about climate change.

“The roots of this tragedy run deep,” said Meaghan LaSala, organizer with 350 Maine. “Fossil Fuels have never been safe. For as long as humans have been pulling this stuff out of the ground, communities at every point of development have been exploited and treated as expendable. And now the stability of our planet is at stake.”

For a full press packet, email 350 Maine organizer Meaghan LaSala at meaghan.lasala@gmail.com or call 973-862-7105.