OAN’s James Meyers
1:09 PM – Wednesday, September 6, 2023
The Biden administration quietly reversed a Trump-era regulation by moving to ban the transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail system.
In a federal filing on Friday, ahead of Labor Day weekend, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), moved to suspend a Trump-era rule allowing the transport of LNG via train cars.
However, the rule will remain in effect until a permanent rule regarding a new LNG rail tank car transportation is proposed and put into place, which could take several months or until June 30th, 2025.
“We are encouraged by the decision to suspend the dangerous practice of transporting highly flammable LNG by rail through communities,” said Patrick Grenter, the director of eco group Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign.
“We have seen the destruction that an accident can cause to communities bordering the railway route, often communities most impacted by pollution and we support any step that will keep it from happening again,” he added. “We urge PHMSA to make the only reasonable decision available to them: make the suspension permanent and ban LNG by rail once and for all.”
This news comes after Democrat lawmakers had wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg earlier this year, pleading for a permanent ban on LNG transportation by rail system, citing safety risks pointed out by a handful of environmental groups.
The PHMSA claimed that the new rule would help the federal government limit public health risks and environmental consequences.
The agency also stated that the new regulation will allow enough time to complete ongoing testing and evaluation for LNG rail transportation, which can help create mitigation measures to limit risks during transportation.
“This suspension will give time for PHMSA, in conjunction with the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering as well as its Canadian regular counterparts, to complete critical research on transporting cryogenic liquids like LNG (and hydrogen) by rail more safely,” said PHMSA Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown. “This research is expected to conclude in the next year or so and will inform future federal safety regulations from PHMSA and the FRA.”
Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said that the move by the Biden administration was the latest example of its war on energy.
“Today the Biden administration has fired another salvo in its war on American energy by essentially prohibiting the movement of LNG by rail,” Cruz said. “America is a leader in reducing carbon emissions largely because of the United States development and use of natural gas. The energy renaissance we are seeing in this country is producing enormous environmental benefits.”
“This is yet another example of why the Biden administration cannot be trusted to implement pro-domestic energy policies,” he added.
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