Marcellus LNG “Bomb Trains” Approved for Travel thru Philadelphia to New Jersey

by admin on December 11, 2019

Explosive cargo to pass thru Philadelphia and cross a Delaware River bridge

Federal officials will let LNG be shipped by rail to Gibbstown, N.J., port on Delaware River

From an Article by Andrew Maykuth, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9, 2019

Environmentalists on Monday decried the federal government’s approval of permits to move liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail from northern Pennsylvania to a new port terminal in Gibbstown, N.J., across the river from Tinicum.

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on Friday approved a request by Energy Transport Solutions LLC to move LNG, produced from fracking Pennsylvania shale gas wells, to the Repauno Port and Rail Terminal in Greenwich Township.

The special permit would allow the company to move as many as 100 rail cars of fuel a day from a plant in Wyalusing, Pa., to the marine terminal, built on the site of the former DuPont Repauno Works in New Jersey. LNG is made from natural gas that has been cooled to -260 degrees to convert it into a liquid, and would be carried in double-walled insulated tank cars specifically designed to transport cryogenic materials.

The Trump administration has championed LNG exports as a means to influence international policy, but climate activists say the exports enable more fossil fuel development.

Local environmental groups, including the Empower NJ coalition that opposes expansion of fossil fuel use, opposed the permits on safety and environmental grounds, and denounced the permit approval as “reckless.” So did the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Oregon Democrat Peter DeFazio, who condemned the approval as “deeply disturbing” and “irresponsible.”

The route is not prescribed, but Norfolk Southern serves the Wyalusing area, and its lines cross Philadelphia and feed traffic across the Delair Bridge, which crosses the Delaware River between Port Richmond and Pennsauken, N.J., just below the Betsy Ross Bridge. The permit could entail the use of “unit trains” that include 20 or more rail cars carrying the same product.

According to PHMSA’s final environmental assessment, moving LNG by rail is more cost-efficient and has fewer environmental impacts than transporting it by truck, and “will not result in significant impacts to the human environment.”

Moving LNG by rail has some risk to public safety similar to other hazardous materials, PHMSA said, but “the risk is considered very low and is minimized by implementing the safety control measures set forth in the special permit.”

The safety control measures include remotely monitoring each tank car for pressure, location, and leaks while it is being transported, and requiring the shipper to train local emergency responders in how to deal with a potential accidents.

Delaware River Partners LLC, which is building the port facility, is owned by a company that is controlled and managed by Fortress Investment Group, a New York hedge fund affiliated with New Fortress Energy.

New Fortress has proposed building a 3.6-million-gallon-per-day natural gas liquefaction plant in north-central Pennsylvania, and says it plans to export the LNG it produces to locations in the Caribbean.

Delaware River Partners LLC say LNG is only one of several commodities that may be shipped from the port, including other fuels, automobiles, and bulk cargo.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has approved waterfront development permits for the terminal, but it still needs a water quality certificate from the NJ-DEP, said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.


Public meeting regarding LNG terminal on Delaware River

See also: Delaware Riverkeeper Network video Gibbstown LNG meeting excerpts – YouTube

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