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Until the previous administration, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by rail was banned throughout the United States because it was deemed to be much too dangerous. Nothing has changed since then.

The previous administration lifted the ban and now the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will be deciding whether to reimpose the ban this June. 

LNG is fracked methane gas that is extracted from shale formations and processed into a liquid state by cooling to minus 260 degrees F, reducing its volume by more than 600 times to facilitate storage and transport. LNG is classified as a hazardous material. When spilled, it becomes flammable and potentially explosive, posing significant and unmitigatable danger to public safety and health and to the environment. This threat to public health and safety accompanies every step of LNG’s supply chain including processing, handling, transloading, storage, and transporting. 

LNG by rail through Pennsylvania presents additional risks-especially to Pittsburgh and to Philadelphia for the reasons previously enumerated by RP3 here:

In Pittsburgh, there are 176,000 people living within the high risk derailment blast zone, 74% of whom live in Environmental Justice Areas.  If you consider the top 10 municipalities in Allegheny County there are 507,000 people living within the derailment blast zone.

In addition to safety threats, public health is negatively impacted by air pollution from LNG processing, including particulate matter 2.5, total particulate matter, hazardous air pollutants such as benzene and mercury compounds, volatile organic compounds, ammonia, sulfuric acid, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides. All of those public health threats will be present at the soon to be open Shell Cracker Plant and its massive rail switching yard. 
Those closest to the emission source receive the most harm from most pollutants. However, the enormous footprint of these emissions can cause damage to human health for up to 159 miles. 

Additionally, recent analyses show a disturbing relationship between COVID-19 and air pollution: the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases as PM 2.5 increases and potential death rate from the virus also rises.

Throughout gas and oil extraction, development, delivery, and end use, public health is harmed, especially for those on the frontlines. The history of disproportionate current and historic environmental burdens on black and brown communities and the poor is a pattern of gross environmental injustice that is intolerable.

The risks of potential catastrophic damage to human life and the environment posed by a fire and/or explosion from a spill or breach of an LNG container outweigh any claimed benefits of this alternative fuel.  The full life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions from extraction and liquefaction to end use are so great that, depending on amounts released and vented, they can be as bad or worse than coal in terms of atmospheric warming, exacerbating climate change. Methane is 86 times more powerful than carbon in heating the atmosphere on a 20-year time scale. LNG production increases greenhouse gas emissions at the very time we, as a nation, are supposed to be achieving substantial reductions (reducing greenhouse gases by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030) in order to do our part to combat the climate crisis.

A recent report documents that from 2018 to 2019, the oil and gas sector experienced the largest year-to-year growth in reported greenhouse gas emissions, led by LNG, which reported a 52% emissions increase. Another new report found that producing, liquefying, and transporting the gas will generate up to 213 million metric tons of new greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. alone by 2030, equal to the annual emissions of up to 45 million cars. The export of LNG for use overseas further increases emissions as the gas travels by ship, is regasified and finally burned, discharging both methane (primarily from regasification) and carbon dioxide (primarily from combustion), contravening global climate goals. 

RP3, along with the Delaware Riverkeepers are reaching out to ask you and/or your group to share with your lists this petition to PHMSA.
Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh
Copyright © 2022 Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh (RP3), All rights reserved.

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