Quebec explosion highlights risk of oil transport

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By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The explosion of a runaway oil train in Canada highlights the risks that come from transporting oil, no matter the method.

Spills from rail cars occur more frequently than from pipelines, but tend to be smaller.

The Quebec disaster on Saturday, which killed five people, underscores a growing trend in which North America's oil is increasingly transported by train, as plans for new pipelines stall and existing lines struggle to keep up with demand.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has been pushing the Obama administration to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has called railroad transit "far more environmentally challenging" than pipelines.

The Quebec disaster is the fourth freight train accident in Canada this year involving crude oil shipments.

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