October 18, 2019

Chair DeFazio Slams Trump Administration for Moving Ahead on LNG-by-Rail Rulemaking Despite Lack of Information about Risk to Public Safety

Washington, DC – Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) responded to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) announcement of a proposed rule to move forward with their plan to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail.

“I’d like to say I’m surprised by this announcement from the Trump Administration, but, alas, implementing reckless plans for special interests without regard for those who may be affected is pretty standard for this Administration,” said Chair DeFazio. “I have been sounding the alarm on moving LNG by rail ever since President Trump issued his executive order in April. Authorizing hazardous materials for transportation by rail should be a careful and deliberative process, supported by science and evidence, with adequate protections in place for the communities where this stuff is travelling. It is not something to be done with the stroke of a pen. The results of his order could be catastrophic.

The Trump administration’s plan to put a dangerous liquid in old tank cars without sufficient testing, analysis, or reviews poses major risks to the health and safety of communities across the Nation. If one tank car had even one minor puncture, the deadly results could be felt for miles. In June, Congress passed my amendment to prohibit DOT from finalizing this rule, and I urge my Senate colleagues to follow suit before it’s too late. I join first responders, environmental groups, concerned citizens, and State and local governments in calling for the Department of Transportation to place lives ahead of gas company profits.”

Additional Background:

June 24, 2019: The U.S. House of Representatives passed a DeFazio amendment to H.R. 3055, which would prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from finalizing a rulemaking and issuing a special permit to allow the transportation of LNG by rail tank car.

June 28, 2019: DeFazio and Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) sent a letter to PHMSA requesting additional information and an extension of the public comment period on the special permit to ensure transparency in the process. While PHMSA responded and agreed to extend the comment period and provided some information, it did not fully comply with the Members’ requests.

August 8, 2019: DeFazio and Malinowski sent a follow-up letter requesting that PHMSA comply with the statutory requirements for authorizing a special permit by disclosing adequate information and questioning the rationale for moving forward with a special permit without conducting a proper safety analysis.

August 8, 2019: DeFazio and Malinowski sent a follow-up letter to PHMSA requesting an update on the status of the special permit for Energy Transport Solutions, LLC to move LNG by rail now that the public comment period has closed.