US DOT Proposes Rule Regarding the Safe Transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas by Rail; Comments Due December 23, 2019

On October 18, 2019, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), together with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) (both agencies of the US Department of Transportation (DOT)), issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG). See 84 Fed. Reg. 56,964 (Oct. 24, 2019) and PHMSA Docket. No. PHMSA-2018-0025 (HM-264) (Hazardous Materials: Liquefied Natural Gas by Rail).

The NPRM states that it is consistent with Section 4(b) of President Trump’s “Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth,” which was issued on April 10, 2019. The Executive Order directed DOT to publish a NPRM that would propose to treat LNG the same as other cryogenic liquids and permit LNG to be transported in approved rail tank cars. It mandated DOT to issue a final rule by May 2020.

The proposed rule would amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to allow the transportation of LNG in DOT-113 specification rail tank cars, as is already permitted for other flammable cryogenic liquids. Currently, LNG may only be transported via rail in a portable tank, subject to FRA approval.

Comments on the NPRM are due on December 23, 2019. PHMSA requests public comment “on all relevant aspects of [the] NPRM, including its potential to reduce regulatory burdens, enhance domestic energy production, and impact safety” (84 Fed. Reg. at 56,966). PHMSA specifically requests comment on “whether there is a reasoned basis for limiting the length of a train transporting LNG tank cars, and what that limitation would look like” (84 Fed. Reg. at 56,968-69) and on “whether there is a reasoned basis for limiting the amount of LNG tank cars that can be in one consist, or where the LNG tank cars may be placed within the train” (84 Fed. Reg. at 56,9689). Finally, PHMSA and FRA noted that for this NPRM they “decided not to propose additional operational controls because there is not sufficient data about the potential movements of LNG by tank car,” while at the same time requesting public comment on the issue of operational controls (84 Fed. Reg. at 56,9689).

On December 5, 2019, PHMSA granted a special permit to Energy Transport Solutions, LLC to authorize transportation of LNG in DOT-113 tank cars between Wyalusing, PA and Gibbstown, NJ. On December 6, 2019, Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, rebuked PHMSA for issuing this special permit over objections from Members of Congress, safety and environmental groups, and local entities.

Share this post:

Comments on "US DOT Proposes Rule Regarding the Safe Transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas by Rail; Comments Due December 23, 2019"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment