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Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

C’est le cœur lourd et brisé que je me rendrai, cette fin de semaine, à Lac-Mégantic afin de rendre hommage et d’honorer la mémoire de tous ceux qui ont péri à cause du funeste déraillement de train survenu le 6 juillet au centre-ville de Lac-Mégantic et des mortelles explosions qui s’ensuivirent.

Translation: With a heavy heart, I will visit Lac-Megantic, Quebec this weekend to pay tribute to those who perished as a result of the recent devastating train derailment and subsequent fires.

While a line divides our countries, it does not divide its people.

Less than one hundred miles apart, Lac-Megantic is the sister city to our very own Farmington. Last week a Maine Delegation from Franklin County, including Danny Deveau from our office, travelled to Quebec to assess our neighbors’ needs.

For years these two communities have forged relationships to share culture and economic growth. And in difficult times like this those bonds extend even farther.

Recovery work remains and I have pledged to the people of Lac-Megantic and the region our support.

We were told many donations of canned goods and clothing are helping those affected. And we now know the Canadian government is offering monetary relief to victims, their families and businesses in the area.

Meanwhile, Quebec’s environment ministry released a new estimate of the amount of crude oil that spilled after the July 6 derailment.

The ministry confirmed that 5.7 million litres of oil spilled into the air, water and ground in Lac-Megantic, which is 20 times more than the earlier estimates. To assist in clean up and recovery, Premier Pauline Marois released $60 million to help rebuild Lac-Megantic. The Canadian government promises $120 million.

Fortunately, there are no harmful effects to Maine’s air, land, or water quality from the train derailment and fires.

However, if this disaster could happen in Lac-Megantic it could happen anywhere. In the event of a similar disaster in Maine, the Department of Environmental Protection would immediately respond to minimize the impacts to our natural resources and environment.

DEP has 25 responders who are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. These responders are trained to react to oil and hazardous materials spills of all sizes. Mainers rest assured that DEP is proactive about protecting our significant natural resources.

Furthermore, as a result of the increase in barrels of crude oil shipped by rail in Maine, Commissioner Pattie Aho and her staff created a rail response coordination team to develop comprehensive spill response maps, strategies and plans to be prepared in the event of an oil spill.

Immediately following the derailment, I signed an executive order directing the Maine Department of Transportation to review the safety of freight railroads in Maine. That work is currently underway. Commissioner Dave Bernhardt went one step further in requesting all five Maine rail companies work with DOT staff to gather and review best practices regarding the securing of parked freight trains.

We also have opened up a direct line of communication with the Quebec Ministry of Transportation’s Rail office to discuss safety concerns and improvements, as well as operational concerns of moving rail traffic in the State and in Quebec with the Maine, Montreal and Atlantic line out of service in Lac-Megantic.

Our Administration is working diligently to ensure the safety of Maine citizens and protect the environment and those efforts will not end on my watch.

The tragedy in Lac-Megantic, which claimed too many lives, brings grief and sorrow. Despite its devastation, it reminds us how resilient we are.

La messe commémorative de samedi constitue une opportunité d’offrir nos plus sincères sympathies collectives aux familles si lourdement éprouvées et à toutes les personnes touchées par cette terrible tragédie. Ce sera également le moment de rappeler à nos voisins du nord, les gens de la région de Mégantic et les Québécois, qu’aucune frontière ne saurait contraindre ou limiter notre compassion ainsi que notre support durant ces moments particulièrement difficiles.

Translation: The ceremony mass on Saturday is an opportunity to offer a collective tribute to the victims and remind our northern neighbors that there is no boundary separating our compassion and support during these difficult times.

Thank you for listening.

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Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada

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