Concerns raised over proposal to use trains to haul natural gas to South Jersey port

David Madden
December 15, 2019 - 4:30 am
Black railway tanker cars

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GIBBSTOWN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Liquified natural gas could be transported by train from Northern Pennsylvania to South Jersey for export, if a Florida based company gets its way. And the Trump administration has set the wheels in motion with the issuance of a required permit although it’s far from a done deal. 

That permit, issued by an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation, gives a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy two years to come up with plans to transfer the gas from fracking areas in Bradford County to Gibbstown, Gloucester County for transfer to tanker ships. 

All of this is proposed. They still need a lot more permits from state and federal entities. But just talk of the idea has people like Jeff Tittel with the New Jersey Sierra Club raising the proverbial red flag.

“Many of our freight rail systems in the state are very old and in Pennsylvania too. They go back to pre-World War One and earlier some of them,” Tittel said. “The concern is that there could be an accident, a spill, a derailment that could have catastrophic effects.”

Look for opponents to turn to Gov. Phil Murphy and the Delaware River Basin Commission. 

“Our concern is that they’re trying to ram this thing through as quickly as possible,” Tittel added, “and we think that a project like this is really not acceptable on the Delaware River.”

The company, in a statement, said, “This special permit is a significant milestone that establishes requirements for moving domestic LNG in a safe and efficient manner. It supports our efforts to bring cleaner and more affordable energy to markets that are reliant on oil-based fuels. We look forward to continuing to work with PHMSA (the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration), other regulatory agencies and the railroad industry as this project advances.”