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Approval Given for Railcar Carrying Dangerous LNG to Gibbstown Port


GIBBSTOWN, NJ--(Dec. 9, 2019)--PHMSA has approved a Special Permit to Energy Transfer Solutions LLC, a New Fortress subsidiary. New Fortress is looking to build an LNG facility in Gibbstown, NJ. The permit requests authorization for transportation of liquefied natural gas (methane, refrigerated liquid) by rail tank car. This material is currently not authorized for transportation by rail tank car although materials with similar properties are authorized for transportation.

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Modern tank cars carry all types of liquid and gaseous commodities (image source Wikipedia).


“This proposal is fracking crazy. PHMSA is going to allow a rail tank car carrying explosive LNG through our communities and neighborhoods. Granting this special permit to New Fortress’s subsidiary will mean 100s of trains will be coming through our communities and neighborhoods carrying explosive LNG. Some of our train tracks go back before WWI and are not designed to handle this dangerous cargo. The dangers of a possible derailment, spill, or explosion would be catastrophic. This is an accident waiting to happen. We need to stop the federal government and President Trump from allowing that to happen. More importantly, the Murphy Administration and the DRBC need to protect us and stop Delaware River Partner’s LNG facility proposal in Gibbstown,”said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

The rail will transport the LNG from Wyalusing Twp., PA to Gibbstown, NJ. Trains will be transporting 20 or more tank cars under the permit. The permit is good for two years.

“Trump’s PHMSA has sided with polluters over public safety. These trains carrying LNG are compressed at 600 to 1, so if an explosion happens, it can wipe out a neighborhood and be catastrophic .A train derailment carrying LNG will be much worse than what happened in Paulsboro, New Jersey when a tanker derailed and released 23,000 gallons of toxic vinyl chloride gas.  A leak from any of those trains could instantly kill everything within 550 yards. A fireball could have a radius as large as a mile-and-a-half. The blast zone from an explosion could spread as wide as two-and-a-half miles,” said Tittel. “These trains will likely be close to homes, schools, businesses, fire-prone forests, critical ecosystems, and critical waterways.”

The safety analyses performed in the development of this special permit only considered the hazards and risks associated with the transportation in commerce.

“Transportation of LNG by rail prompts more fracked gas. Natural gas is primarily methane and is 87 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and can cause major climate impacts, while adversely affecting public health, like causing childhood asthma attacks, other respiratory ailments, and even premature death,” said Tittel.

According to Army Corp.’s supplemental notice, the LNG product will arrive at the proposed structure via truck or tanker railcar. Approximately 13 trucks per hour would enter the site, 24/7. The proposed operations at the Site will generate approximately 15 trucks in and out of the facility per hour on average. Each truck would carry approximately 12,000 gallons of product.

“There will be close to 1400 trucks that would transport LNG to the site each day. The company will bring 3.5 million gallons of LNG a day to the port from truck or rail, this is equivalent to 2 billion gallons of natural gas. These trucks will be bombs on wheels coming through Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” said Tittel. “Bridge and river traffic would be greatly disrupted by a LNG port. The National Guard would have to close off bridges to allow tankers through, as happens in Boston.”

The NJ DEP have approved the Waterfront Development Permits for the LNG facility. The facility still needs approval from FERC and the Army. Corp and a 401 Water Quality Certificate from the DEP.

“Even though PHSMA acted reckless in approving this permit to transport LNG by rail, the Murphy Administration can still step up. The DEP need to do their job and protect our environment and public safety by rejecting Delaware Partner’s 401 Water Quality Permits. More importantly, Governor Murphy can put a mortarium on fossil fuel projects. Without an LNG, there wouldn’t be anything to transport,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Even though the approval of this permit is a bump in the road, it does not mean our battle is lost. We will fight and keep on fighting until this disastrous LNG proposal is dead. It’s too important for safety of too many people.”