Proposal Calls for Transport Of LNG on DOT 113 Railcars

(November 13, 2019) — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing a change to the Hazardous Materials Regulations to allow the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on railcars, reports Transportation Today. The overture builds on an executive order by President Donald Trump issued earlier this year.

Currently, LNG can only be transported by rail using a portable tank with prior approval from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), although the Hazardous Materials Regulations allow DOT 113 specification tank cars to be used for hauling other flammable liquids. Under a notice of proposed rule- making, DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) now seeks comment on changes that would allow LNG to be transported in these cars as well.

“Safety is the number one priority of PHMSA and we understand the importance and will make it a top priority to evaluate all public comments and concerns raised throughout the rule-making process,” said PHMSA administrator Skip Elliott. “This major rule will establish a safe, reliable, and durable mode of transportation for LNG while substantially increasing economic benefits and our nation’s energy competitiveness in the global market.”

In April, President Trump issued an executive order recognizing the growth of energy production in the U.S., along with growing domestic and international demand for natural gas. He noted the nation’s role in supplying LNG and the need to transport it safely. DOT views allowing LNG transportation on DOT 113 specification tank cars as a potential viable alternative to pipelines that could allow the country to better meet demand. The department maintains such transportation could provide improved fuel efficiency, fuel accessibility in remote areas, lower emissions, and increased U.S. energy competitiveness at large.

“FRA shares regulatory oversight responsibility for the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail,” said Ronald Batory, Federal Railroad Administration administrator. “This rule-making is consistent with our systemic approach to accident prevention, mitigation, and emergency response preparedness.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, November 11, 2019)