LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

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LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby Burb8145 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:18 pm

The Trump administration is considering a rule that would allow trains carrying a highly volatile substance to travel through Michigan and other states.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is reviewing hundreds of public comments about the proposal that would allow the bulk transport of liquefied natural gas in rail tank cars.

Nathan Murphy, state director of Environment Michigan, said it would pose a threat to anyone who lives near the roughly 3,600 miles of railroad tracks in Michigan.

"They're going to be put in much higher danger if a train were to derail and an accident would happen and these trains would breach and leak, and potentially catch fire," Murphy said. "And shipping this around Michigan, or having trains cut through Michigan on their way to someplace else, is just an incredible risk that communities aren't willing to accept."

According to federal regulators, liquefied natural gas has been transported safely by highway and vessel for more than 50 years, and rail transport is needed given the expansion of U.S. energy production.

More than 400 comments were submitted, including from the National Transportation Safety Board, which said it would be detrimental to public safety.

Murphy said letting this proposal advance would likely lead to more fracking, which he believes is a step in the wrong direction.

"We know because of climate change we need to be shutting down fossil fuel infrastructure and moving away from fossil fuels," he said, "not figuring out ways how to use more fossil fuels and move more fossil fuels around. This is just a wrong-headed idea for several reasons."

Attorneys general from 16 states, including Michigan, petitioned the Trump administration to withdraw the proposal. They argue that it lacks basic safety precautions to lower accident risks, and that it was announced before the completion of safety studies.


https://www.thenewsherald.com/news/trump-administration-considering-rule-to-allow-trains-to-carry-substance/article_5d3489e4-58b6-11ea-944e-bf73a0bc1530.html

Even I'm not sure if this will end badly and cause major problems.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby PatAzo » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:41 pm

How does this differ from liquefied petroleum gas which moves everyday?
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby Doktor No » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:50 pm

PatAzo wrote:How does this differ from liquefied petroleum gas which moves everyday?

Liquid Natural Gas is less dangerous (relatively) then propane or butane or most any other flammable gas. It is lighter then air and will rise and dissipate faster then LP which would hug the ground and flow to any low spot. Nice story in Railway Age last year about how Florida East Coast has set up their LNG locomotives and how they got with the various fire angencies in Florida as to what to expect.
People seem to forget that most anything dangerous is transported somewhere by truck or rail....that's how it works and that's how we manage to have a viable society.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby justalurker66 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:41 pm

Nathan Murphy, state director of Environment Michigan, said it would pose a threat to anyone who lives near the roughly 3,600 miles of railroad tracks in Michigan.

When I see statistic use like that I immediately discount the complaint. Yes, there are 3,600 miles of railroad in Michigan. But no proposal is suggesting that every mile of every railroad in the state become a host to LNG.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant. They might as well have claimed that the trains would put all 9.9 million Michigan residents at risk.

In another article the following claim is made:
The flammable and odorless liquid would be transported “through densely populated areas, potentially in unit trains of up to 100 tank cars operated by just one person, on the same rail lines used by high speed passenger trains, with inadequate safety precautions,” the states said.

So, where is one person operation in effect in the United States? Probably on the same rails where "high speed rail" exists. They are demonstrating their ignorance.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby hoborich » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:18 pm

To be fair, I think one person operation is coming, maybe sooner than people think.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby EWRice » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:10 pm

I will take the LNG cars over the 50+ year old petrol pipeline burried 200yds from my house. Every year Marathon sends me a booklet on how to watch for issues around the pipeline.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby chapmaja » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:48 pm

EWRice wrote:I will take the LNG cars over the 50+ year old petrol pipeline burried 200yds from my house. Every year Marathon sends me a booklet on how to watch for issues around the pipeline.


Must be nice, Panhandle Eastern just sends someone to sit in a track at the facility across the road from my house on an almost daily basis. I have no idea what they do, but they sit there for about half an hour almost daily and then leave. Maybe doing air quality checks to see if the pipes are leaking. Normally they don't even go inside the fenced area.

Still not sure what they are doing with that big pipeline that went in over the last couple years between my house and Hell (yes, I live down the road from Hell, Michigan).
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby Doktor No » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:11 pm

chapmaja wrote:
EWRice wrote:I will take the LNG cars over the 50+ year old petrol pipeline burried 200yds from my house. Every year Marathon sends me a booklet on how to watch for issues around the pipeline.


Must be nice, Panhandle Eastern just sends someone to sit in a track at the facility across the road from my house on an almost daily basis. I have no idea what they do, but they sit there for about half an hour almost daily and then leave. Maybe doing air quality checks to see if the pipes are leaking. Normally they don't even go inside the fenced area.

Still not sure what they are doing with that big pipeline that went in over the last couple years between my house and Hell (yes, I live down the road from Hell, Michigan).

I for one would walk across the street and ASK the guy whats up. Not hard, alls he could say is "nothing," or maybe give an answer. And if they were putting in a pipeline like that across the street from my house you'd be darn sure I would know EXACTLY what was in it. Just ASK, it isn't that hard and if you don't get an answer start with your township supervisor and work upward. They HAD to have pulled permits etc from the government entities.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:52 pm

I have some experience working with pipelines. There are two likely explanations. One is a mandate the each gate station be visually inspected daily. Two is that there is a telemetry issue and the truck is downloading data.

Third one of course is the guys workload is light.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby hoborich » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:07 pm

track at the facility across the road


Determining what the "facility" is would be a good start.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby chapmaja » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:55 pm

hoborich wrote:
track at the facility across the road


Determining what the "facility" is would be a good start.



It is simply a fenced area with a couple pipes that come up out of the ground and then go back into the ground. I think it can be used as an emergency shutoff for the pipeline as there are a couple valves in place. (Several years ago, before they started doing near daily checks, I did have to call them because there was a hissing sound coming from the facility. It turned out the valve was leaking natural gas, thankfully it never went boom.)

The new pipeline I referenced is the ET Rover Pipeline that was very controversially built from Ohio up into Michigan over the last few years.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby adams_aj » Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:02 pm

chapmaja wrote:
It is simply a fenced area with a couple pipes that come up out of the ground and then go back into the ground. I think it can be used as an emergency shutoff for the pipeline as there are a couple valves in place. (Several years ago, before they started doing near daily checks, I did have to call them because there was a hissing sound coming from the facility. It turned out the valve was leaking natural gas, thankfully it never went boom.)


I used to work for Panhandle Eastern in Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas City. .

When there was "hissing", did you or have you ever smelled natural gas?
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby hoborich » Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:48 pm

I do believe natural gas is odorless until they add the odor at some point, so people can smell leaking gas.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:40 pm

adams_aj wrote:
chapmaja wrote:
It is simply a fenced area with a couple pipes that come up out of the ground and then go back into the ground. I think it can be used as an emergency shutoff for the pipeline as there are a couple valves in place. (Several years ago, before they started doing near daily checks, I did have to call them because there was a hissing sound coming from the facility. It turned out the valve was leaking natural gas, thankfully it never went boom.)


I used to work for Panhandle Eastern in Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas City. .

When there was "hissing", did you or have you ever smelled natural gas?



No, I did not smell natural gas when there was a hissing noise. If I had I would have been much more concerned with the situation than I was.

One other aspect of this facility was that there was, at one time, an attachment that would make a clinking noise every few seconds, like something was being injected into the line or it was doing some sort of flow measuring at the location. That equipment was removed years ago though.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby adams_aj » Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:07 pm

OK. I know that Panhandle Eastern and other gas transmission companies do not add odorant (Methyl Mercaptan) until they deliver to a utility. Thought maybe the building in question was a delivery point to a local utility.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby hoborich » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:39 pm

Could be just a valve station. They have them every so often, so they can shut the line down in an emergency. Those have the pipe coming up out of the ground, a wheel, and back into the ground.
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Re: LNG on Michigan's rails? Trump's considering it

Unread postby chapmaja » Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:54 pm

hoborich wrote:Could be just a valve station. They have them every so often, so they can shut the line down in an emergency. Those have the pipe coming up out of the ground, a wheel, and back into the ground.



A valve station it is. Found some information in the local documents from the company. Still no explanation as to why they stop and sit there so often, although I haven't seen evidence of them being there in a while.

At least they won't come through and clear the pipeline of brush again anytime soon. (They normally do it about every decade). I'm still finding chunks of wood thrown up the hill by the chopper when they cleared behind my house. One of the pieces actually landed on the roof, which was about 100 feet from where they cleared.
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