June 24, 2019

House Passes Rep. DeFazio Amendment to Stop Trump Administration from Fast-Tracking Authorization to Move LNG by Rail Tank Car

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to H.R. 3055 offered by Rep. Peter DeFazio, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, that would prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from finalizing a rulemaking and issuing a special permit to allow the transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by rail tank car. A comment period on the special permit is set to close July 8, 2019.

President Trump issued an Executive Order on April 10, 2019, calling for LNG to be moved throughout the U.S. in rail tank cars within 13 months, and on June 6, 2019, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) moved ahead with a plan to authorize six trains, of 100 or more rail tank cars, to move LNG for export through densely populated areas.

“In its never-ending quest to put profit ahead of people, the Trump administration is now trying to bypass long-standing requirements for transportation of LNG by putting it into 100-car trains that roll through densely-populated areas at upwards of 50 miles per hour,” DeFazio said. “This plan is beyond absurd. Should even one tank car get punctured, the results could be devastating. My amendment blocks this brazen attempt by the administration. I urge the Senate to follow suit and stop a massive catastrophe before it’s too late.”

Typically, when PHMSA authorizes transportation of a hazardous material, it does so after a careful evaluation of the risks, alternatives, and safety conditions. It publishes these findings so that the public can adequately challenge or comment on its conclusions.  PHMSA has not done its due diligence, and this rulemaking and special permit are being rushed without an opportunity to fully consider the potentially catastrophic consequences of moving LNG by rail.