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Louisiana among states opposing Biden ban on moving liquefied natural gas by train

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is leading a coalition of 25 states in opposition to a proposed federal rule to ban natural gas transport by rail car, arguing the decision drives up energy costs and threatens national security.

Landry wrote a letter to Tristan Brown, acting administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), targeting a rule proposed by the Biden administration in November that would suspend authorization to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail tank cars.

The authorization, granted in a final rule in August 2020, permits specifically designed tank cars to transport LNG, but the proposed rule in November would negate that permission over concerns about increased greenhouse gases, worker safety, environmental risks and “environmental justice.”

“Biden’s war on energy is a war on America’s poor and working-class,” Landry said Monday. “It is high time the Biden Administration to put America first. Biden’s environmental virtue-signaling is burdening American families and jeopardizing the safety and security of our homeland.”

The attorneys general argued the proposed rule creates regulatory uncertainty, chills capital investment in the special tank cars and negatively affects national security and energy costs for consumers. The Biden administration’s focus on greenhouse gas emissions also “is an attenuated and speculative concern untethered to the scope of PHMSA’s regulatory purpose,” the letter read.

The letter argued the Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates why it is important for the U.S. to maintain energy independence.

“Current geopolitical events involving Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine show with painful clarity the need for the United States to maintain its energy independence through multiple distribution points throughout our country,” the letter read. “The agency should not move forward with suspension of a rule that serves that important objective.”

The attorneys general cite the country’s reliance on natural gas, which currently generates 41% of electricity in the U.S., as well as figures that show significant decreases in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.

“The growth in U.S. gas production is a geopolitical and economic asset, contributing to our national and global energy security,” according to the letter.

The proposed rule to halt LNG by rail stems from Biden’s Executive Order 13990, directing federal agencies to review Trump administration era rules to suspend or rescind over conflicts with the new administration’s focus on environmental justice and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter noted the proposed rule prevents LNG by rail until at least June 30, 2024, without providing the “detailed justification” and “reasoned explanation” of new facts required by law to change PHMSA rules.

Attorneys general likened PHMSA’s proposed rule to similar executive actions to halt new oil and gas leases that are hurting Louisiana and other states, and argued the PHMSA ignored evidence of LNG by rail’s positive impacts on the environment.

The letter pointed to LNG prices that have increased 61% since Biden took office – a cost to American households of about $1,000 more in energy costs than last year – and how the administration’s restrictions on oil and gas will continue to hurt U.S. consumers while benefiting Russia.

“President Biden has made it clear he will do anything to destroy American energy,” Landry said. “Once again, 24 of my colleagues and I are pushing back against Biden’s senseless and short-minded stance. The American economy and way of life hinge on affordable and reliable energy sources; I will continue fighting to defend both.”

The letter was signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Montana, Alaska, Nebraska, Arizona, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Ohio, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Idaho, South Dakota, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, Utah, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, West Virginia, Missouri and Wyoming.

This article was originally posted on Louisiana among states opposing Biden ban on moving liquefied natural gas by train

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