Biden administration changes Trump-era rule, will ban liquefied natural gas on trains

The Transportation Department is reversing Trump-era amendments allowing the transport of natural gas via rail. The Transportation Department says it evaluated February's East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment, which resulted in harmful chemicals being released into the environment in the area (pictured). File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

Sept. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden has reversed a Trump-era amendment to hazardous materials regulations that allowed liquified natural gas to be transported by rail.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration are moving to prevent the transport of liquefied natural gas via rail under the new instructions.

"PHSMA, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration, is amending the Hazardous Materials Regulation, to suspend authorization of liquefied natural gas transportation in rail tank cars," the Department of Transportation said in a press release Friday.

Though there has been no transportation of LNG via rail since July 24, 2020, the Transportation Department says the updated regulations are being put in place to prevent any transport occurring while the safety parameters are evaluated.

"This temporary suspension of the HMR provisions authorizing transportation of LNG in rail tank cars guarantees no such transportation will occur before its companion rulemaking has concluded or June 30, 2025," the Transportation Department said.

Shortly after taking office, the Biden administration issued Executive Order 13990, which ordered a review of Trump-era regulatory changes.

"Executive Order 139990 required the review of agency regulations and other actions promulgated or adopted between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, that are candidates for suspension to, modification, or rescission because of inconsistency with Biden-Harris Administration policies to improve public health, protect the environment, prioritize environmental justice and reduce GHG emissions," the Transportation Department said.

The Transportation Department says it is evaluating February's East Palestine Ohio train derailment, which resulted in harmful chemicals being released into the environment.

"PHMSA is working with the National Transportation Safety Board to learn all it can from this incident and determine whether the lessons learned should inform rail transportation of other hazardous commodities, such as LNG," the Transportation Department said.