Image: smoke rises from the Mosier, OR train derailment fire in 2016 [Photo Courtesy of the Washington State Dept. of Ecology]
CLICK HERE to submit a comment opposing Trump’s proposal for permitting LNG-by-rail to roll through our communities. Comments due August 7th.
Even as clean, renewable energy is becoming more accessible than ever, fossil fuel companies are trying to find new ways to ship dangerous fracked gas through our communities. And the Trump Administration is bending over backwards to help them.
In an executive order issued in April, the Trump Administration announced that it plans to allow 100-car unit trains carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to travel through our communities. In June, the administration moved even more quickly, proposing a special permit to allow unit trains on major rail lines throughout the U.S. LNG-by-rail would mean dangerous train cars transporting a highly flammable fossil fuel product through populated areas. The fossil fuel industry has sought approval for LNG-by-rail transport for years, but serious safety concerns have prevented the practice.
For more details on the LNG-by-rail issue, Desmog’s Justin Mikulka wrote an excellent article about the issue a few weeks ago.
The Power Past Fracked Gas coalition submitted a technical letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) demanding a more thorough review of the documented health and safety risks of the proposal in July. PHMSA’s Environmental Assessment included no new safety measures and lacked information about how federal regulators would protect communities adjacent to LNG trains.
The Pacific Northwest is familiar with both the extreme health and safety hazards of LNG and the real threats of transporting dangerous fossil fuels by rail. In 2014, an explosion and fire at an LNG facility in Eastern Washington caused hundreds of people to evacuate their homes and injured five workers. And we all remember the fiery oil train derailment in Mosier in 2016, when a 96-car unit train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed, spilled, and burned in the Columbia River Gorge. Now, the fossil fuel industry is trying to combine the high-speed recklessness of oil trains with the extreme volatility of LNG – an idea that only fracked fossil fuel companies could love.
A recent report from Washington and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility confirms that LNG creates severe public health risks. And Congressman Peter DeFazio, Chair of the House Transportation Committee, stated recently, “This plan is beyond absurd. Should even one tank car get punctured, the results could be devastating.”
Already, 27 Pacific Northwest-based organizations submitted a technical letter to PHMSA urging the agency to address health and safety impacts in a full, thorough Environmental Impact Statement. Citing unaddressed health and safety risks, the coalition urged PHMSA to deny the special permit for LNG-by-rail through our communities. Thanks to public pressure, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) extended their comment period and is accepting additional comments on their draft review of LNG-by-rail until August 7th. Send in your comment today.