“Bomb Trains” Edge “Freedom Gas” In U.S. House Vote

By 26 Votes, House Amends H.R. 3055 Omnibus Appropriations Bill to Thwart DOT Action on Railing LNG. New England Delegation Almost Uniform in Rejecting Presidential Initiative to Reduce Region's Highest-in-Nation Electricity Costs.

(The political branding fad may have jumped the shark in the debate over transporting liquified natural gas (LNG) by rail. “Bomb Train” was coined by some witty fellow in the wake of the 2013 Lac Megantic CBR disaster; “Freedom Gas” has entered the language only in the last month by a poetic U.S. Dept. of Energy press release. – Ed.)

24 June, Washington DC – The amendment is a response to White House Executive Order #13868 issued 10 April, directing the USDOT to develop regulations allowing for LNG shipment by rail. The order emphasized the intent to relieve natural gas supply pressure in New England, due to limited existing regional pipeline capacity, and strong public opposition to increasing pipeline capacity.

The Amendment sponsored by Pete DeFazio (D-Ore.) prohibits the Department of Transportation from using any funds to authorize the transportation of liquefied natural gas by rail tank car by proposing and finalizing a rulemaking or issuing special permits. The amendment reads:

None of the funds made available by this Act [H.R. 3055] may be used to carry out section 4(b) of Executive Order 13868 1or to issue a special permit under section 107.105 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, that allows liquified natural gas to move by rail tank car.

New England gaslighted by own reps

Amendment 468 to H.R 3055 (Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020) was adopted: Yeas 221, Nays 195, Absent 28. Twenty-one New England representatives were present for the vote; 20 voted in favor of the amendment to not fund the rulemaking order, and one declined to vote {Congress.gov}.

In June 2018, New England residents collectively are paying nearly 50% higher utility electricity prices than the national average. The average prices paid by New England state consumers in 2017.

  • CT $0.2162 / kWh
  • ME $0.1616
  • MA $0.2111
  • NH $0.1963
  • RI $0.1864
  • VT $0.1850
  • NEg $0.1925

{electricchoice.com}

The U.S. Energy Information Agency expects New England electricity prices to rise by 4% during 2019, more than twice the projected nationwide increase of 1.8% {USEIA}.

1 EO 13868, 4(b): The Secretary of Transportation shall propose for notice and comment a rule, no later than 100 days after the date of this order, that would treat LNG the same as other cryogenic liquids and permit LNG to be transported in approved rail tank cars. The Secretary shall finalize such rulemaking no later than 13 months after the date of this order.