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Politics

FEC Concealed Plans to Move Deadly Liquefied Natural Gas Next to 110-mph Passenger Trains

October 23, 2017 - 2:45pm
Sebastian train trestle
Sebastian train trestle

Folks along the Florida East Coast rail corridor, a highly populated, congested route with more than 300 at-grade crossings it will share with All Aboard Florida’s (AAF) 110 mph passenger trains, apparently will also see FEC move liquefied natural gas (LNG) along the same route. This, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Martin and Indian River Counties, along with Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL).<--break->

If FEC realizes its plans, it will become only the second railroad in the country to transport liquefied natural gas as a commodity by rail.

Specifically, the FRA states the following regarding Alaska Railroad (ARR), the only railroad now transporting LNG:  “The FRA views ARR’s approval as different from a potential FEC approval, due to the significant differences between the two states and the areas through which they would be transporting the product.  For example, if ARR transports LNG it will be doing so at 40 mph through mostly unpopulated areas with few highway-rail grade crossings, whereas under FEC’s proposal, trains transporting LNG will pass through highly populated areas, with more frequent crossings, while sharing tracks with passenger trains traveling at 110 mph.”

Said Ruth Holmes, senior assistant Martin County attorney, “The FRA clearly recognizes the inherent danger of fast moving freight trains transporting a volatile substance like LNG passing passenger trains traveling up to 110 mph through our densely populated communities. While the FRA claims it will conduct a thorough evaluation of the safety risks, we believe a thorough review of the environmental impacts is also needed."

The letter further reveals FEC has had ongoing discussions with the Railroad Administration related to the transportation of LNG along the corridor since September 2014. However, no mention of this was included in either the September 2014 Draft Environmental Impact Statement or the August 2015 Final Environmental Impact Statement, even though the proposal is directly related to, and clearly impacts, the AAF project.

“Once again we have discovered that FEC and AAF are shielding information from the communities they are directly affecting. Transporting a hazardous material like LNG is a major safety risk for our communities and must be thoroughly reviewed and evaluated from every angle,” said Dylan Reingold, Indian River County attorney.

“The AAF project itself poses a great enough risk to Treasure Coast communities and it is now clear that they intend to increase that risk exponentially by adding an extremely dangerous substance to the mix. Running 110 mph trains and LNG over the same tracks is simply a recipe for disaster,” Brent Hanlon, chairman of CARE FL, said in the Monday statement.

Coming on the heels of the news that AAF derailed a passenger train but never publicly disclosed it, the non-public nature of this LNG letter has left Treasure Coast citizens in particular with even less reason to trust their safety to AAF and FEC.

Comments

Maybe it was “concealed” because the trains will be going slower in densely populated areas. They have a throttle like trucks do. But aren’t new pipelines bringing LNG to Fla from west and north of here? They might need to add a branch to negate the rail need.

Umm - Many hazard materials are routinely transported by train..........and it is not concealed. What do you think those pretty diamond warning placards are for?? Amtrak runs trains next to freight trains that are carrying hazmat routinely..............and so do the rail services in other countries. There has been a lot of unfounded speculation and unwarranted criticisms or this project.

For those saying that these trains no more dangerous than trucks hauling the same products down I95. I guess your right if we line up one to two mile long convoys of the semi trucks bumper to bumper with LNG OR LPG plus other flammable products. Then put cross roads every few miles and expect the cross traffic always to be smart enough to stop for them. Than I guess its the same thing

It is a fact the distance from Pensacola to Key West — 792 Miles by Road makes North/South travel in Florida CAN be a very long trip. Very few people would drive this in one day. I LIKE the idea of High-Speed "Rail, perhaps through the CENTRAL of the entire State --- via PIPELINE. "Feeders" could installed in any Large or Populous area, as needed. Put HSRail on BOTH East and West Coasts, plus a few Cross-Country (eg, Orlando - Lakeland - Tampa)... and SLOW DOWN implementation and make COST in front of everything. FLORIDIANS ARE CRAZY, and want everything in a New York minute!

The anti-science movement in America has become so strong, it threatens to return us to caveman days and ways. Liquefied natural gas DOES NOT EXPLODE. Repeat: DOES NOT EXPLODE. It's maintained in its liquid state by cooling it and transporting it in specialized refrigerated containers. IF a container were to leak, and if the escaping liquid were to gasify, nothing would happen because natural gas, unlike gasoline, DOES NOT auto ignite. Hollywood is responsible for incorrect propaganda such as silencers for firearms producing noiseless shots and a gas oven left on for two minutes explodes a whole house when it encounters a spark. No, natural gas does not explode. I've installed plenty of natural gas lines, and if there's a leak, and you hold a flame to it like from a lighter, the flame will flare up a little as the gas burns around it, but it does not explode. Gasoline products like jet fuel in particular DO EXPLODE, particularly in near-empty tanks when there's a lot of oxygen present (from air). This is a problem with aircraft when there's a spark from electric wires running thru the tanks, and that has caused numerous fatal aviation mishaps. Fuels such as diesel, JP-5 jet fuel used on board aircraft carriers and natural gas do not explode. PROPANE EXPLODES. People who are stupid enough to use propane grills in enclosed spaces like garages have blown themselves up as well as the houses next to them. PROPANE, not natural gas. During both Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma, there were deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning from improperly vented propane appliances, so people ARE STUPID ENOUGH to use them indoors. If your lone gunman (you know how those Muslims are) shoots a PROPANE tank, it will explode. It will auto ignite from the pressure. A tank of refrigerated NATURAL GAS WILL NOT EXPLODE when you shoot it. The cooled liquid will escape and turn to gas. It will not explode. Lithium Ion batteries do explode. Some airlines, like Lufthansa and Delta have stopped transporting lithium ion batteries because of the severe danger. I suggest next time, while you're flying from Miami to Jacksonville because there is no train, that you check with your airline to see if they transport lithium ion batteries. Gasoline is transported in tanker trucks on interstate highways every minute of the day. They explode when they crash. Gasoline pumping stations can explode when somebody is smoking or just from static electricity. Next time you're pumping gas, read the warning label about filing portable gasoline containers. The static electricity from the filling process can cause a gasoline Jerry can to explode.

How much taxpayer money have Martin and St. Lucie County spent in their self-righteous quest to drag up red herring issue like this LNG one. $2million? $3million $4million? The money train extends to elected officials like Rep. Brian Mast and depends on the general population's ignorance of the safety rules the Federal Railroad Administration has in place governing hazmat movements. The obfuscation here is being practiced by county officials and their hired gun attorneys in Washington who don't return phone calls. Sorry-three road closing accidents on I-95 north of WPB this year caused by sleepy or inattentive truckers are more of a problem than the phony arguments these fear mongers put forth to try to stop a privately-not publicly funded disrupter of the status quo.

Right along planned passenger train or not, this is next to homes businesses and can blow 5 mile circumference or more and cause major evacuations. This should not be allowed to happen.

What kind of research have you done? It appears less than NONE!!! That propane truck on the highway has a chance of blowing up while delivering propane to a home/mobile home. Let's ban them from our highways. That gasoline tanker after it;s last delivery is a real bomb with it's fuel-air mix. Ban them, too. LNG has no potential to explode unless turned to a gas in a very tight container with oxygen added to a specific ratio, and then very intense heat added. This can't happen with the LNG tanks on the railroad. Enough of this emotional garbage.

This is another one of those sensationalist stories that anti-rail activists in the Treasure Coast love to write about. In fact, railroad freight of petroleum, industrial chemicals and other hazardous materials happens on a near daily basis. There is no conspiracy as all of these transports have to be registered and tracked. High speed rail and freight services care share railways. In fact, it havppens everyday in the northeast where Amtracks fast rail Acela actually ride on the same tracks as all other commuters and freight services. Perhaps my hometown of Stuart and it’s public commission need to focus more on promoting job and economic growth and less on sensationalist news intended to derail what should be a great service for the region.

This is another one of those sensationalist stories that anti-rail activists in the Treasure Coast love to write about. In fact, railroad freight of petroleum, industrial chemicals and other hazardous materials happens on a near daily basis. There is no conspiracy as all of these transports have to be registered and tracked. High speed rail and freight services care share railways. In fact, it havppens everyday in the northeast where Amtracks fast rail Acela actually ride on the same tracks as all other commuters and freight services. Perhaps my hometown of Stuart and it’s public commission need to focus more on promoting job and economic growth and less on sensationalist news intended I retail what should be a great service for the region.

While the 'right people' were getting paid off, people with a brain knew passenger trains don't turn profits. You KNEW there would be more freight than Disney revelers. Liquefied Gas in just ONE of the many items that could BLOW UP in our faces. One Lone Wolf with a high powered rifle... Good thing there aren't any ISIS sympathizers in Florida any longer.... Antifa would NEVER consider such a thing....

I guess thee right people are getting paid off to keep very heavily subsidized airlines flying with about $150 billion of your tax dollars! LNG will not explode in yours or anyone else's faces. It can't. And contrary to all those Hollywood movies you believe are real, a rifle bullet CANNOT cause LNG to explode. The partly empty gas tank on your care has more explosive potential. Enough uneducated, emotional fear mongering, already.

This is ridiculous. Would you complain that the FDOT "concealed plans to move deadly liquefied natural gas next to hundreds of thousands of commuters on I-95"? No? Why not? WHY NOT? Oh I know! Because you're being blatantly dishonest: you're in the Treasure Coast NIMBYs back pocket and want to smear an absolutely fantastic project that'll bring massive environmental and safety benefits to Florida. You are a disgrace to journalism.

Who filed the EIS? Your article indicates AAF. Do you realize that AAF is NOT FEC? They are totally different companies! Always have been. And since AAF is not transporting LNG they didn't have to include it in their EIS. Oh, what about those gas pipelines that are carrying gaseous natural gas, a much bigger and real hazard, passing through neighborhoods around your county. Guess we should eliminate them, immediately before they "blow a five mile crater"? In its liquid state, LNG is not explosive and can not burn. For LNG to burn, it must first vaporize, then mix with air in the proper proportions and then be ignited. In the case of a leak, LNG vaporizes rapidly, turning into a gas (methane plus trace gases), and mixing with air. If this mixture is within the flammable range, there is risk of ignition which would create fire, but no explosion.

Who filed the EIS? Your article indicates AAF. Do you realize that AAF is NOT FEC? They are totally different companies! Always have been. And since AAF is not transporting LNG they didn't have to include it in their EIS. Oh, what about those gas pipelines that are carrying gaseous natural gas, a much bigger and real hazard, passing through neighborhoods around your county. Guess we should eliminate them, immediately before they "blow a five mile crater"? In its liquid state, LNG is not explosive and can not burn. For LNG to burn, it must first vaporize, then mix with air in the proper proportions and then be ignited. In the case of a leak, LNG vaporizes rapidly, turning into a gas (methane plus trace gases), and mixing with air. If this mixture is within the flammable range, there is risk of ignition which would create fire, but no explosion.

Then maybe you can tell us why FEC conveniently failed to mention this, or why the FRA says it isn't done anywhere else but in Alaska.

"Deadly"? What justifies using that word in the title of the article? Is it specifically intended to set the readers mind without them needing to read any facts nor learn any actual information? Is this a news article, an opinion piece, or simply propaganda?

How is it even possible to be considering such an ill-conceived project? It is totally unacceptable for residential communities along the eastern coast as well as posing the potential for extremely hazardous environmental impacts. Where are "the adults in the room"???

The adults are supporting this project. LNG is not any more unsafe than gasoline (safer, actually.) Nobody has any problems seeing tankers of gasoline and LNG flying past you on I-95 every day, despite the risk of an accident being astronomically higher. Meanwhile the actual affect of moving both passengers and freight to the rails is better environmental management, because the alternative is widening I-95, and because it's less likely to spill from a train than on the roads. This is a good idea, and you should support it.

A gasoline tanker on an interstate highway is imminently more dangerous than a rail tank car of LNG or LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) for that matter. My family handled LPG for over 40 years and never had a mishap all the while driving trucks up and down the streets, back alleys and lanes of Northwest Florida.

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