Rep. Houlahan Spearheads Effort to Suspend LNG Rule

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Representative Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6) alongside fellow Pennsylvania Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-2), Dwight Evans (PA-3), Madeleine Dean (PA-4), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Susan Wild (PA-7), and Matt Cartwright (PA-8), sent a letter Friday to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to formally suspend a rule which would allow for the bulk transportation of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) by rail without the necessary operational controls, equipment standards, and accident response protocols.

This comes after the devastating derailment of a train carrying hazardous vinyl chloride through the Ohio-Pennsylvania border town of East Palestine, Ohio. The LNG-by-Rail rule, which was proposed by the Trump Administration, did not include adequate safeguards, or have a necessary analysis for safe transportation of LNG by rail, the Representatives said in their letter. The rule also did not receive a proper assessment of its environmental consequences and impact on underserved communities.

“The East Palestine derailment is a reminder of the pressing need for stricter regulation on the transportation of hazardous materials,” said Houlahan. “This disaster was not only a wake-up call on the destruction that can happen from one incident, but the greater effect it can have on the surrounding community’s health and our environment. We must protect our communities and prevent another catastrophe like this one from happening again by suspending this rule.”

“After the disastrous train derailment near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, it is extremely clear that this Trump-era rule has to be suspended and reviewed to protect Pennsylvanians,” said Evans.

“The catastrophic derailment in East Palestine, Ohio makes it clear that the federal government must take all necessary steps to protect the safety of our communities when hazardous materials are being shipped through them on the rails,” said Kimberly Ong, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Trump Administration rule to relax the safety precautions for LNG-by-Rail went in exactly the wrong direction. NRDC applauds the Members of Congress joining together today to ask the Biden Administration to permanently set aside that ill-considered rule.”

“The freight train explosions, accidents and disasters that regularly occur across the U.S. and the East Palestine, Ohio derailment from 3 weeks ago show us that time is of the essence,” said PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “We must act now to protect residents and first responders from the growing threat of trains carrying LNG, oil, chemicals, or any explosive or hazardous substances, and move toward a cleaner, safer way of life.”

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