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Regulators Seek To Suspend Trump Rule On Railway Natural Gas | WIVT

by: JOSH FUNK , Related Press

Posted: Nov 16, 2021 / 06:19 PM EST
/ Up to date: Nov 16, 2021 / 06:35 PM EST

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FILE – A CSX Transportation locomotive pulls a prepare of tank automobiles throughout a bridge on the Hudson River alongside the sting of Bear Mountain State Park close to Fort Montgomery, N.Y., on April 26, 2018. Railroads are warning traders that freight shipments will proceed to fall this 12 months because the Trump administration’s commerce fights hamper exports and low cost natural gas causes coal deliveries to dwindle. CSX and Union Pacific each reported a slowdown in freight hauling in the course of the second quarter of 2021. (AP Picture/Julie Jacobson, File)

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal regulators have proposed suspending a Trump administration rule that will have allowed railroads to haul liquefied natural gas whereas they take a better take a look at the potential security dangers.

The rule, which was backed by each the natural gas and freight rail industries, had already been on maintain as a result of a number of environmental teams and 14 states filed lawsuits difficult it.

The federal Pipelines and Hazardous Supplies Security Administration mentioned the uncertainty in regards to the rule additionally stored firms from investing within the specialised rail tank automobiles that had been required, so railroads haven’t truly dealt with any shipments of the flammable and odorless liquid often called LNG because the rule was issued final summer time.

The rule would have required enhancements — together with a thicker outer tank made from metal with a higher puncture resistance — to the authorized tank automotive design that, for many years, has been authorized for shipments of different flammable cryogenic supplies, resembling liquid ethylene and liquid ethane.

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However of their lawsuit, environmental teams argued that these new railcars, which have but to be constructed, had been untested and may not stand up to high-speed impacts, growing the specter of an explosive prepare derailment alongside rail traces that cross straight by means of the center of most cities.

“We don’t consider that LNG by rail ought to have ever been approved within the first place, so we glance ahead to the authorization being suspended,” mentioned Bradley Marshall, who’s a senior legal professional with Earthjustice which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the environmental teams.

A spokesman for California Legal professional Basic Rob Bonta additionally praised the Biden administration’s determination to suspend the rule. Bonta’s workplace mentioned he would proceed the problem to the rule began by his predecessor as a result of he believes “this rule is illegal” and regulators didn’t correctly consider all of the environmental dangers.

Apart from California, the opposite states that challenged the rule included Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Washington D.C. was additionally a part of the lawsuit.

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The lawsuits have all been put on maintain whereas federal regulators assessment the rule, which may take till the summer time of 2024.

Earlier than this rule was issued final summer time, federal hazardous supplies laws allowed shipments of LNG by truck, however not by rail, besides with a particular allow.

The transfer to abandon the rule permitting LNG shipments by rail comes as natural gas costs and exports are surging in america. And ongoing courtroom and regulatory battles have slowed improvement of pipelines that will assist ship the nation’s world-leading gas manufacturing to markets.

The long-term progress in LNG exports has continued to set information, in accordance to the newest federal figures. U.S. LNG exports averaged 9.6 billion cubic ft per day in the course of the first six months of this 12 months because the financial system continued to get better from the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokeswoman for the Affiliation of American Railroads commerce group defended the rail business’s security observe file and mentioned railroads would have the opportunity to deal with LNG shipments if given the chance.

“Railroads proceed to be the most secure manner to transfer hazardous supplies over land with 99.99% of all hazmat cargo arriving at their vacation spot with out incident,” mentioned Jessica Kahanek with the railroad group. “The rail business stays assured that DOT’s ongoing analysis will affirm that with the suitable precautions rail is a accountable transportation resolution for transferring LNG if their clients request it.”

One of many industrial backers of the thought of transport LNG by rail included a proposed challenge from a subsidiary of New Fortress Vitality that needed to use rail to haul LNG from northern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale natural gas fields to a yet-to-be-built storage terminal at a former explosives plant in New Jersey, alongside the Delaware River close to Philadelphia.

The Trump administration had issued a particular allow to that challenge in 2019. If it had been constructed, most of that LNG was anticipated to be exported to international markets for electrical energy manufacturing.

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