SPONSORED:

Environmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail

Environmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail
© Getty Images

Environmentalists as well as Oregon’s two Democratic senators voiced concern Tuesday over Trump administration's plans to ease restrictions on transporting natural gas by rail.

The proposal would allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be transported in a wider variety of rail cars, increasing the amount of the highly flammable substance that can be moved by rail.

“LNG transport by rail presents a much more complex set of threats than other hazardous materials,” Oregon Democratic Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWhat the shift in Senate control means for marijuana policy reform Hawley files ethics counter-complaint against seven Democratic senators Hillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution MORE and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyBiden expands on Obama ethics pledge Biden signs executive order invoking 2-year lobbying ban for appointees K Street navigates virtual inauguration week MORE wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

ADVERTISEMENT

“This includes possible explosive events with a radius of up to a mile and fires that burn at far higher temperatures than crude oil or gasoline fires and are extremely difficult to put out.”  

The letter nods to a massive explosion in Oregon in 2016 after a train carrying LNG derailed.

Asked for comment, a DOT spokesperson said the agency considers safety a top priority and "will evaluate all public comments and concerns raised throughout the rulemaking process."

Environmental group Earthjustice also opposed the proposal on grounds that it would be too dangerous.

"It would only take 22 tank cars to hold the equivalent energy of the Hiroshima bomb,” the group wrote in its comments. 

The group goes on to criticize DOT for failing to suggest additional safety precautions even though many trains often carry long stretches of railcars.

“Despite acknowledging the risks,” the group says of DOT, it “does not propose any safety precautions or operational restrictions to prevent 110‐car unit trains from traveling through major population centers with the equivalent energy of 5 Hiroshima bombs.”

Updated 4:06 p.m.