The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has suspended authorization without a special permit of “liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation in rail tank cars pursuant to a final rule published on July 24, 2020, pending the earlier of either completion of a companion rulemaking evaluating potential modifications to requirements governing rail tank car transportation of LNG, or June 30, 2025.”
WWALS has opposed such authorization since before PHMSA approved it, on numerous grounds, including safety (potential leaks or explosions, lack of city, county, or state LNG risk management plans, lack of safety studies), rail running through densely populated areas, promotion of fracking, environmental concerns (LNG is 80 times more harmful than CO2 in the near term as a greenhouse gas), and shortsightedness: solar, wind, and batteries are exponentially taking over from LNG.
We do not yet know how this suspension will affect LNG by rail in Florida; more on that later.
It is also not clear how this decision will affect New Fortress Energy’s other LNG by rail project from Wyalusing, PA, to an export terminal in Gibbstown, NJ, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
Still, we agree with NRDC that “This is a huge victory for the planet and for communities living in the potential blast zones of these rail lines.”
See also Josh Funk, AP, Updated 6:31 PM EST, August 31, 2023, Rule allowing rail shipments of LNG will be put on hold to allow more study of safety concerns,
One of the big railroads that said it may have been interested in hauling the fuel, CSX, abandoned any plans to build the infrastructure needed to load and unload LNG from railcars after the agency first announced this proposal to suspend the rule in 2021.
That’s good about CSX. But we have no word yet on Florida East Coast Railroad (FECR) or Brightline.
As we know from a document obtained by FOIA, there are safety concerns across much of Florida about LNG by rail. That’s FECR Movement of LNG ISO Containers by Rail, Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA) Considering LNG Position in Train and Train Speed, December 8, 2016.
Stay tuned for more on this subject.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®