PHMSA Suspends Dangerous Trump-Era LNG-by-Rail Rule


Shannon Van Hoesen,

WASHINGTON DC —   Today, in a win for safety and the climate, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced the suspension of a Trump-era rule that allowed the transport of liquified methane gas, referred to as LNG, by rail

The rule allowed transport of LNG-by-rail across the nation, including for a New Fortress Energy proposal to ship LNG-by-rail from Wyalusing, PA nearly 200 miles south to an export terminal in Gibbstown, NJ. If that project is approved, it would result in two 100-car trains of LNG moving through dozens of communities, including the City of Philadelphia, daily. The shipment of LNG-by-rail is highly hazardous because a single accident could result in flammable leaks, choking vapor clouds, explosions, and uncontrollable fires. Just 22 train cars of liquefied natural gas hold the equivalent energy of the Hiroshima bomb. 

Sierra Club and other environmental groups have been urging PHMSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), to stop the practice of LNG-by-rail since last year. Communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have demanded an immediate return to a ban on LNG-by-rail. Seven members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation have urged DOT to permanently ban shipments of LNG-by-rail. Eighteen New Jersey municipalities, eleven Pennsylvania local governments, and two Delaware municipalities have also passed resolutions against LNG-by-rail. And a petition for a ban, which was drafted by a coalition of environmental organizations including Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Berks Gas Truth, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Clean Water Action, and Food & Water Watch, has already garnered 10,000 signatures.

In response, Patrick Grenter, Director of Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, said:

"We are encouraged by the decision to suspend the dangerous practice of transporting highly flammable LNG by rail through communities. We have seen the destruction that an accident can cause to communities bordering the railway route - often communities most impacted by pollution and we support any step that will keep it from happening again. We urge PHMSA to make the only reasonable decision available to them: make the suspension permanent and ban LNG by rail once and for all."


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit