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December 23, 2021

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL SUPPORTS SUSPENSION OF RULE AUTHORIZING LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS TRAINS

Chicago  — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general in filing comments in support of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposal to suspend regulations that allowed liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be shipped in rail tank cars with only limited safety measures in place.

“Illinois is one of our nation’s major rail hubs, and transporting hazardous liquid natural gas by rail not only harms the environment by facilitating increased use of fossil fuels, but, more importantly, poses a significant safety risk to residents,” Raoul said. “I urge the federal government to protect both residents and the environment and suspend the harmful rule allowing the transport of LNG by rail.”

LNG is an extremely hazardous substance that must be stored below -260? to maintain its liquid state. If exposed to atmospheric conditions, a liquid LNG pool will quickly volatize into natural gas, creating a super cold cloud of odorless, flammable, and potentially explosive gas. The LNG by Rail rule, which was finalized in July 2020, was expected to introduce trains of 80-100 tank cars, each carrying over 30,000 gallons of LNG, to our nation’s railways, allowing a highly hazardous explosive cargo to be transported through densely populated areas.

In August 2020, Raoul joined a coalition of states in petitioning the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the rushed authorization of rail transportation of LNG. Raoul and the coalition asserted that the rule failed to include basic safety measures, like mandatory speed limits and distance requirements, to protect rail crews from their hazardous cargo. The petition followed comments filed by Raoul and a coalition in January 2020 opposing the administration’s proposal to authorize bulk LNG by rail. In those comments, Raoul and the coalition argued that the proposal was submitted without the completion of safety studies, or sufficient analysis of the public safety and climate change implications of permitting the nationwide transport of LNG by rail.

Today’s comments support the suspension of the 2020 LNG by Rail Rule because the rule:

  • Was based on a flawed and incomplete safety assessment.
  • Did not adequately consider the rule’s upstream and downstream effects on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Lacked an adequate discussion of the rule’s impact on low-income, minority, underserved, and disadvantaged communities.

Joining Raoul in filing today’s comments are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

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