The Biden administration quietly moved to ban the transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via rail on Friday.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a subagency of the Department of Transportation (DOT), moved to undo a Trump-era rule that allowed the transport of LNG via train cars in a regulatory filing published in the Federal Register on Friday, ahead of Labor Day weekend. LNG transport on rail tanks will be permitted until the DOT proposes and finalizes a rule on LNG rail transport, or until June 30, 2025, according to the Federal Register entry for the decision to remove the Trump-era rule.
Environmentalist groups hailed the DOT’s move as a major victory, citing the perceived risk that LNG on railroads poses to communities and habitats that lie in the paths of railways, according to the Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch.
“Today, the Biden administration has fired another salvo in its war on American energy by essentially prohibiting the movement of LNG by rail,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said of the DOT’s move in a press release issued Friday. “By removing this option, the radical environmentalists in the Biden administration have delivered a further setback to American prosperity and national security.” “LNG by rail would give Americans — particularly those who have limited energy choices because of geography — an affordable and environmentally-responsible option to meet their energy needs,” Cruz added.
The removal of the Trump-era rule is intended to “[avoid] potential risks to public health and safety or environmental consequences (to include direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions),” according to the Federal Register entry.
Neither the DOT nor the White House responded immediately to requests for comment.
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