Liquefied natural gas issue on Brightline railroad –Cecile Scofield in TCPalm 2023-11-12

Update 2024-01-31: Huge win against LNG: feds require climate analysis; what about Florida? 2024-01-24.

Cecile Scofield got this op-ed into TCPalm, Sunday, November 13, 2023, “Liquefied natural gas issue on Brightline railroad”

According to a recent article, Brightline (Fortress Investment Group) is looking for land adjacent to existing tracks away from the St. Lucie River bridge in downtown Stuart. The property must also be able to support other development opportunities for Brightline.

In 2014, Florida East Coast Railway discussed moving liquefied natural gas on its network with the Federal Railroad Administration. On Sept. 24, 2014, AAF Holdings LLC filed an application with the Florida Development Finance Corp., for $1.75 billion in private activity bond financing for “All Aboard Florida.” About $440 million would be used to construct new track and rail between Cocoa and Orlando, the gateway to Tampa and the Panama Canal.

[Brightline Route to Disney World and Tampa Bay]
Brightline Route to Disney World and Tampa Bay

In November 2014, James Hertwig, former CEO of FECR, said he thought the laws would change where double-stacked 10,000-gallon liquefied natural gas international standards organization containers would run from South Florida to Jacksonville, creating a virtual rolling natural gas pipeline. However, the single-tracked St. Lucie River railroad bridge presented a problem. Constructing an LNG production facility in Stuart or north of Stuart could be a solution.

On Dec. 31, 2014, American LNG Marketing (Fortress affiliate) filed an application to export LNG produced at an under-13-acre site in the Hialeah Rail Yard from ports of Miami, Everglades, Palm Beach, Jacksonville and Canaveral, and filed an application Feb. 3, 2015, to export LNG from a 22-acre site in Titusville.

As noted by the FRA in a March 3, 2016, letter to FECR: “Any LNG transported along the proposed routes would eventually share the routes with high performance passenger trains … ” On March 13, 2017, FRA authorized FECR to haul containerized LNG. In 2022, American LNG exported 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas from Port Everglades. In July 2022, LNG was selling at $12.76 per 1,000 cubic feet. All aboard the LNG train.

Cecile Scofield, Palm City

July 2022 was about the peak of recent LNG prices, which are now back around $7.

However, this is still true:

If the industry continues to increase LNG exports, this will raise domestic natural gas prices, prop up domestic production when it should be declining, shift greenhouse gas emissions overseas, and make the United States vulnerable to international price swings.

See Chris Martinez,, November 6, 2023, LNG Exports Raise Natural Gas Prices for Americans.

And see also LNG by Rail suspended by PHMSA and FRA 2023-08-31, although we do not yet know what the PHMSA decision means for Florida.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!

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