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The fracking industry—and the soon to be operational Shell Cracker plant, will be using rail lines to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) under pressure. 

These "bomb trains" will be coming through Pittsburgh’s—and through Philadelphia’s, most populated Environmental Justice neighborhoods. Pennsylvania’s rail and subsurface infrastructure along rail lines makes LNG by rail an imprudent risk at this point in time.

This is especially a concern in Pittsburgh given the lack of maintenance by railroads generally on their poorly rated privately owned rail bridges. Our population and most critical city infrastructure are also at risk because railroads have also not fulfilled their maintenance obligations on the substructure of poorly rated Allegheny County and City owned bridges. Take for example the South Negley Ave Bridge —where Norfolk Southern has the obligation to maintain it’s substructure. Because the substructure is rated in poor condition, the entire bridge has to be replaced and raised — which will allow for double-stack clearance at taxpayer expense, rather than repaired at its grandfathered height. That will allow higher center of gravity less stable double-stack rail cars to run next to LNG trains on a zigzag route through the City. 

Big picture railroads have been following this lack of maintenance business model for decades. Why not. It gives them double-stack clearance, new rail bridges even for the bridges they own outright, and all at taxpayer expense. Generally, the railroads pay no mitigation to the surrounding neighborhoods, instead approving tens of billions in stock buybacks which further enrich rail company executives. This happens bridge after bridge and our elected official at every level fail to see the proverbial “forest for the trees.” If you then layer LNG by rail into the picture, traveling next to double-stack trains through Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, you are simply tempting fate.

Looking at what other countries and high rail car states do, before LNG is permitted, the bridge and subsurface rail line infrastructure (below rail water and sewer lines) must be made safe, standards for safe rail and wheel wear should be implemented, railroads must be made to meet their contractual maintenance obligations, made to post bonds to pay for a catastrophic derailment, and the Federal Rail Administration and the Public Utility Commission should implement special inspection state and federal oversight. These are all reasonable precautions. At a minimum, alternate guaranteed routes around population centers must be in place — as they are by law in Canada, before LNG is ultimately approved. 

Until such steps are taken to protect the surrounding public, LNG by rail is too dangerous, highly explosive, flammable, and it’s proliferation also locks us into decades of fracking and climate pollution.

Now the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is dragging its feet on whether to reverse the LNG by rail policy and temporarily ban LNG "bomb trains.” That’s where you come into the picture!

We have until March 31st to submit public comments and demand a ban on LNG transport by rail.
Hoping you join RP3 and other grassroots organizations throughout the Commonwealth in this campaign by signing the letter linked below?  And if you think any railroad operating in Pennsylvania has adequate insurance to cover an LNG derailment, you are DEAD WRONG!!

Click here to stop LNG by rail.
Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh
Copyright © 2022 Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh (RP3), All rights reserved.

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