Two environmental groups on Friday threatened to sue the Trump administration over a newly published rule allowing the transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail.
The rule, which allows for the transport of LNG in rail tank cars, was finalized last month but published in the Federal Register on Friday.
Previously, a special permit was needed to transport LNG in this way.
The administration determined that this method of transporting gas is a “safe alternative” after comparing a specific type of tank car to other modes of transportation.
However, environmentalists have expressed doubts about whether transporting LNG by rail is actually safe.
“The explosion risk of transporting this volatile cargo in vulnerable tank cars through major population centers is off the charts,” Earthjustice attorney Bradley Marshall said in a statement threatening to sue the administration over the rule.
“It would only take 22 tank cars to hold the equivalent energy of the Hiroshima bomb,” Marshall said. “We will hold this administration accountable for its responsibility to protect Americans from disaster.”
When the rule was finalized, Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine ChaoSaluting FOIA on its birthday House passes bill to strengthen authority of federal watchdogs Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' MORE praised the transport method as a way to get energy to more parts of the country.
“The Department's new rule carefully lays out key operational safeguards to provide for the safe transportation of LNG by rail to more parts of the country where this energy source is needed,” she said in a statement last month.
The Center for Biological Diversity also threatened to sue the administration over the rule.
“The Trump administration’s reckless LNG rule risks explosions and fires in populated areas. We’ll fight to protect our communities from this deadly threat,” said Center attorney Emily Jeffers in a statement.