Biden admin delivers blow to fossil fuel project in victory for eco groups

The Biden administration opted against granting a permit for transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, to Gibbstown, New Jersey, via railroad. The Department of Transportation (DOT) stated in a federal filing published Monday that it had rejected a special permit from Energy Transport Solutions, a Missouri-based liquid fuels transportation firm, to renew authorization for LNG transportation. A DOT subagency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), explained Tuesday the decision was, in part, a result of litigation. “Prior to the denial, the project to transport LNG for foreign export was already halted by Energy Transport Solutions as part of a legal settlement with external litigants,” a PHMSA spokesperson told Fox News Digital. The request to transfer LNG to New Jersey was part of a large LNG export project first proposed in 2017 by Energy Transport Solutions parent company New Fortress Energy, a billion-dollar energy infrastructure company. The company’s plan for the project included constructing an LNG processing plant in Wyalusing and transporting product via rail to Gibbstown where it would build an export terminal to send natural gas overseas. BIDEN ADMIN APPROVES MASSIVE GAS PIPELINE PROJECT IN HUGE BLOW TO CLIMATE ACTIVISTS In December 2019, the Trump administration approved a special permit allowing LNG transportation via rail as part of the project, but which expired in late 2021. In addition, the Trump administration finalized a rule that broadly allowed energy companies to transport LNG nationwide via tank car. But the New Fortress Energy project has faced legal hurdles in recent years. The company ultimately entered into a settlement last year with several environmental groups led by the Sierra Club, agreeing to halt construction of its Wyalusing processing facility indefinitely until it obtains a new air quality permit. MASSIVE OIL PROJECT SPARKED CIVIL WAR WITHIN BIDEN ADMINISTRATION, LAWMAKERS SAY Months after the settlement, though, New Fortress Energy affiliate Delaware River Partners obtained a permit from the federal Delaware River Basin Commission, giving the company until 2025 to construct its south Jersey export terminal. And Delaware River Partners has signaled it could transport LNG to the terminal from “third-party liquefaction facilities” if its Wyalusing processing facility isn’t constructed, according to court filings. Still, environmental groups that have opposed the LNG project rejoiced Monday after the DOT published its denial of the special permit. “The future of the Gibbstown liquefied natural gas terminal is looking bleaker by the day,” said Kimberly Ong, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an influential environmental group. “The denial of the Energy Transfer Partners special permit is a huge victory for halting this planet-warming, water-polluting, community-endangering fossil fuel project.” “Now the DOT just needs to put the nail in the coffin and restore the ban on LNG by rail once and for all,” she continued. “Denial of the special permit is a necessary, but not sufficient, step to stop the construction of the Gibbstown LNG Terminal.” Ong also called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to reverse the Trump-era allowing wide-scale LNG rail transportation. “Especially after the tragic disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, there is no excuse for Buttigieg to not suspend the federal LNG by rail rule immediately,” Ong stated. New Fortress Energy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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