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J.D. Irving Ltd. officials are monitoring the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd.'s (MMA) bankruptcy proceedings with keen interest.Owner and operator of the New Brunswick Southern, Maine Northern and Eastern Maine railways, J.D. Irving considers its railroads' connections to the MMA as vital to their operations and customers, said J.D. Irving spokesperson Mary Keith in an emailed statement.The company is one of many in Maine and New Brunswick that depend on quality rail links to move outbound finished products to other Canadian and U.S. markets, as well as receive inbound raw materials for manufacturing operations, she said."We are maintaining open lines of communication with federal and state officials regarding the importance of sustaining viable rail links," said Keith.Some recent media reports in Canada suggested that J.D. Irving is interested in purchasing the MMA."We are currently reviewing our options and have no further comment at this time," said Keith.All J.D. Irving-owned rail lines possess a valid operating certificate from all U.S. and Canadian regulatory bodies, and are in full compliance with all operating requirements, she said."In many cases we exceed the minimum regulatory requirements," such as the frequency of track inspections and detections, Keith said.Earlier this month, MMA filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine, while the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Canada Co. filed a petition seeking relief under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in the Superior Court of Quebec in Montreal. The actions were the result of claims associated with the July 6 MMA derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that caused 47 fatalities, many injuries and significant property damage.
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