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Conservation group sues FRA over Alaska Railroad's LNG records


The Center for Biological Diversity last week sued the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for not responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to Alaska Railroad Corp.'s (ARRC) plan to move liquefied natural gas (LNG) within the state's borders.

The center filed for an FOIA request for records related to ARRC's LNG-by-rail pilot project in February, but the FRA has not responded nor indicated when it might rule on the request, center officials said in a press release issued by the center.

"The public deserves to know the risks of shipping LNG by rail through Alaska's biggest cities and majestic wilderness. The federal government has an obligation to be transparent before approving or shipping a volatile fossil fuel," said Miyoko Sakashita, a senior attorney at the center.

ARRC obtained FRA approval in early October to move LNG to points in Alaska's interior. The railroad was the first U.S. railroad to receive such a federal permit, according to the FRA.

The Associated Press and other media organizations reported that two LNG shipments moved Sept. 7 from Anchorage to Fairbanks, using specially designed 7,000-gallon rail tankers that keep the condensed fuel chilled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, center officials said. The shipments were the first in a pilot program slated to run through the end of 2016.

The center is a national, nonprofit conservation organization.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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