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US U.S. states oppose Trump proposal to ship LNG by rail, citing safety risk

01:10  15 january  2020
01:10  15 january  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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The attorneys general of 15 states said this week that they oppose a Trump administration proposal to allow rail shipments of liquefied natural gas The protesting states included Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where the Trump administration issued a special permit in December to ship LNG by rail .

LNG by rail is authorized in Canada. Efforts have been underway since last year at DOT to develop PHMSA' s proposed rule acknowledges the risk of LNG rail shipments, but said it plans to take a The two federal agencies cited many potential logistical and economic benefits to shipping LNG by

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Attorneys general from 16 U.S. states have opposed a Trump administration proposal to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail, arguing that any leaks increase safety risks to residents and emergency responders.

Australia is expected to be the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas by 2018 but the average Australian probably won't reap any benefits, the RBA says© AAP Image Australia is expected to be the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas by 2018 but the average Australian probably won't reap any benefits, the RBA says

The top legal officers of Maryland, New York, California and other states on Monday urged the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to withdraw the proposal pending the completion of safety studies and the development of an environmental impact statement, in filed comments.

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President Donald Trump wants to allow natural gas to be shipped in railroad cars, a move that would open new markets hungry for the fuel but could risk catastrophic accidents if one were to derail. Fred Millar, an independent rail consultant working with citizen groups opposed to moving LNG by trains

President Trump has made clear that he wants to move the nation' s glut of fracked natural gas onto trains and then to ships for sale abroad. PHMSA cites LNG export multiple times as a reason why approving LNG by rail is necessary. The proposed rule states

The Trump administration proposal would help two industries - natural gas drillers desperate to export the fuel because of a glut, and rail operators, who have suffered as coal output has fallen to the lowest level since 1975.

"The administration is bending to the will of the fossil fuel industry ... and it puts at risk neighborhoods, towns and cities across our nation," said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

The attorneys general warned that the proposal could allow LNG unit trains of up to 100 cars operated by just one person. They said LNG - natural gas that is super-cooled into a liquid for transportation - sent by rail raises the risk of spills that can form highly flammable ground-hugging vapor clouds.

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LNG is natural gas that has been chilled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 167 Celsius) in a process that removes water, carbon dioxide City Risks . Fred Millar, an independent rail consultant working with citizen groups opposed to moving LNG by trains, says Trump ’ s policy change would

President Donald Trump wants to allow natural gas to be shipped in railroad cars, a move that would open new markets hungry for the fuel but could risk catastrophic accidents if one were to derail. Fred Millar, an independent rail consultant working with citizen groups opposed to moving LNG by trains

PHMSA's proposal said that a specially-built rail car known as DOT-113 is designed to hand super-cooled liquids, but the attorneys general said that PHMSA and another agency have not completed safety testing of transporting LNG in the cars.

In December, PHMSA approved the use of trains to ship LNG from northeastern Pennsylvania to southwestern New Jersey.

Energy Transport Solutions, a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy, hopes to liquefy Pennsylvania gas and send it by rail to a not-yet-built terminal on the Delaware River for shipping to global markets. The route could take LNG through populated cities Philadelphia and Camden. Previous rail approvals have been made for companies in Florida and Alaska.

PHMSA's December approval included a special permit that imposed several operational controls for safety. But the attorneys general said it did not meet minimum controls urged by the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal agency, including restrictions on routing through populated areas.

The American Association of Railroads, an industry group that supports shipping LNG by rail, said that railroads move more than 99.99% of hazardous materials to their destination without releases caused by an incident, and the industry has worked with government and others to strengthen tank car standards.

PHMSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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