Public Pressure Stops Plan To Ship Crude Oil Through Hudson Bay

A rail company is putting the brakes on a controversial plan to haul millions of litres of crude oil across its northern rail line to the port of Churchill on Hudson Bay.

Omnitrax Canada president Merv Tweed said the company, which operates the port in Manitoba, is expecting another record shipping season from grain and other commodities. That has shifted the company’s focus away from shipping crude oil, he said.

“We’ve got a glut of grain on the market,” Tweed said Friday. “It looks like another great crop. We increased our volume last year. Our targets are higher this year and they’ll be higher again next year. I think it’s important that we focus on the grain side of it. That’s the direction that we’ve chosen.”

Omnitrax had argued the plan to transport oil across hundreds of kilometres of remote rail line built on permafrost was safe and would help create much-needed jobs in the North. But the proposal was vehemently opposed by aboriginal groups, environmentalists and the government of Manitoba.

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