Thanks to special permits from the Trump administration, liquefied natural gas (LNG) intended for export is now being transported through dense urban areas of Florida via “bomb trains” – trains with up to 100 LNG tanker cars on aging private railways. And the old rules even allow for more of this to come!
These HAZMAT freight trains are extremely dangerous for front-line communities, as a derailment or accident could result in a series of massive explosions and fires that conventional firefighting methods can’t handle.
The Biden administration recently proposed a rule to temporarily suspend — but not end — the transport of LNG via rail and still allow exemptions for special permits (like those for trains moving through Miami-Dade and Broward counties in Florida). These “bomb trains” should be stopped — not just delayed.
[PASTE: The proposed rule, PHMSA-2021-0058 (HM-264A) / RIN 2137-AF55, on transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail does not go far enough to protect communities or the climate. We need a complete ban on all LNG transport by rail.
Liquefied fracked gas “bomb trains” threaten communities — and this gas is often intended for export. Sending these trains through communities puts millions of people in harm’s way.
If this rule was already bad enough to reconsider, it should be repealed outright. Despite the looming threat of climate catastrophe, this rule favors regulatory incrementalism and compromise rather than the bold actions that must be taken to stop the extraction, transport, export and combustion of LNG immediately. The stakes are too high to do any less.]
President Biden talks about investing in clean energy infrastructure and divesting from fossil fuels abroad, but that won’t be good enough if he doesn’t put a stop to the LNG export boom now. This proposed rule is yet another half-measure that doesn’t go far enough to stop these dangerous freight trains running through our communities.
Living near liquefaction plants, export terminals and rail lines that carry these “bomb trains” puts people’s health and safety at risk, and those who live within three miles of gas facilities are disproportionately communities of color and lower-resourced communities.
Despite the looming threat of climate catastrophe and the daily threat posed by rail transport of liquefied fracked gas through communities, this rule favors regulatory incrementalism and compromise. We no longer have the time for that.We need bold actions to stop the extraction, liquefaction, transport, export and combustion of fracked gas immediately — the stakes are too high to do any less. Stopping these trains is a vital step.
Ramping up liquefied fracked gas operations will push us toward climate disaster. Transport by rail means more exports. More exports mean more fracking. All this adds up to a less habitable planet.Issuing a temporary suspension of transport for liquefied natural gas is not climate action or justice — only a full repeal is.
Staff Attorney, Climate & Energy
Food & Water Watch