Washington - Attorneys general from 16 U.S. states have opposed a Trump administration proposal to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail, arguing that potential leaks from the shipments pose risks of fiery explosions to residents and emergency responders.
The top legal officers of Maryland, New York, California and other states on Monday in filed comments urged the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to withdraw the proposal pending the completion of safety studies and the development of an environmental impact statement.
The Trump administration proposal would help natural gas drillers desperate to export the fuel because of a glut.
“The administration is bending to the will of the fossil fuel industry ... and it puts at risk neighborhoods, towns and cities across our nation,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.
It could also benefit rail operators, who have suffered as coal output has fallen to the lowest level since 1975.
The attorneys general warned that the proposal could allow LNG unit trains of up to 100 cars operated by just one person. They said LNG - natural gas that is super-cooled into a liquid for transport - sent by rail raises the risk of spills that can form highly flammable, ground-hugging vapor clouds.