“The National Transportation Safety Board has urged the Trump administration not to allow shipments of liquefied natural gas by rail, citing the risk of “catastrophic” fires and explosions.
In response to a draft rule released in October, NTSB said there's not enough evidence that the current generation of tank cars, which are designed to carry other flammable gases like ethylene in supercooled liquid form, can be used safely on a wider scale. And, the safety board said, the U.S. Transportation Department should require additional safety measures before it allows so-called unit trains, which have as many as 100 identical tank cars.
“We believe the risks of catastrophic LNG releases in accidents is too great not to have operational controls in place before large blocks of tank cars and unit trains proliferate,” Robert Sumwalt, the safety board's chairman, wrote in the group's formal comment to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Comments on the draft rule were due yesterday.
More than a dozen other advocacy groups and state and local officials also joined NTSB to oppose the draft rule to permit LNG transport in rail tank cars (Energywire, Oct. 21, 2019). Other commenters included a trade group of state fire marshals, communities that live with rail traffic, the union that represents railroad engineers and 16 state attorneys general, who all rallied against the rule.”