Federal officials hit the brakes on sending liquefied natural gas by train through parts of Pa., NJ

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — U.S. Department of Transportation officials have denied the permit renewal for Energy Transport Solutions to transport Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by train from Northeast Pennsylvania to Gloucester County, New Jersey.

“It’s very dangerous to ship because, God forbid if there’s an issue with one of the train cars, then it could cause a chain reaction explosion,” said David Steinberg, a volunteer attorney for the environmental group Delaware Riverkeepers.

He says the decision to deny trains is significant, but it’s just the start, as groups like his are working to ban truck transports of natural gas as well.

And, now that trains aren’t in the mix, he says they are also trying to block the company from sending up to 500 tanker trucks full of natural gas per day through communities along the Delaware River.

Kevin Barfield with Camden for Clean Air says they have concerns about the trucks passing through as well because of the potential for disaster if one explodes.

“Our local fire department doesn’t have the manpower or the resources to even deal with something on that magnitude,” he said.

In a statement to KYW, a spokesperson from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said the previous administration’s 2020 LNG by Rail Rule requires LNG to be transported in DOT-113C120W9 tank cars, which are more robust than the type of tank cars that were allowed under the special permit.

"Since the rule came into effect, no LNG has been transported under this rulemaking, and no company has built a DOT-113C120W9 tank car capable of transporting LNG under the new rules. PHMSA is also unaware of any concrete demand from any company to build these tank cars in the near future."

"Additionally, prior to PHMSA’s denial of the special permit, Energy Transport Solution had already halted its project to transport LNG for foreign export as part of a legal settlement with external litigants."

KYW reached out to Energy Transport Solutions for a reaction to the permit denial and what the future holds for the Gibbstown Logistics Center but has not heard back.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Paulbr/Getty Images