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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

3/7/2022



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AG coalition, RSI urge PHMSA to allow LNG by rail


PHMSA's decision to reverse course on the LNG-by-rail authorization "creates regulatory uncertainty" and chills potential capital investment in the type of rail car that can transport LNG, the attorneys general wrote.
Photo – shutterstock.com

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Twenty-five state attorneys general have informed the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that they object to the Biden administration’s proposal to suspend authorization of rail transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Last week, the attorneys general sent a letter to PHMSA Acting Administrator Tristan Brown stating that they object to the proposed suspension of a rule, made during President Donald Trump’s administration, that authorized transportation of LNG by rail tank cars.

PHMSA's decision to reverse course on the LNG-by-rail authorization "creates regulatory uncertainty" and chills potential capital investment in the type of rail car that can transport LNG, the letter states. In addition, PHMSA's concern that LNG by rail might lead to an increase to greenhouse gas emissions is speculative, they said.

The attorneys general also cited Russia’s attack on Ukraine as another reason for not suspending authorization of LNG by rail, especially when 41% of the United States’ electricity is generated from natural gas.

"Current geopolitical events involving Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine show with painful clarity the need for the United States to maintain its energy independence through multiple distribution points throughout our country," the letter states.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is leading the coalition. Other states represented in the coalition are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Meanwhile, the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) is currently assessing the impact that global sanctions against Russia are having on the railway supply industry, said John Herbert, RSI’s director of policy and communications, in an email.

"If Europe ends up facing an even bigger energy crisis as a result of this [war], we should be looking at how the United States can increase exports to help mitigate shortages in Europe," Herbert said. "As part of that, we’ll also be urging the Biden administration to reconsider its decision to suspend the safe transportation of liquefied natural gas by rail to help expand our export capacity of LNG."



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