Center for Biological Diversity poised to sue over LNG shipping

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Earlier this week, an environmental group threatened to sue federal regulators if they approve the shipment of liquefied natural gas by rail.

The Center for Biological Diversity, based in Tucson, Arizona sent a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, warning federal officials not to ignore the risk factors involved in shipping liquefied natural gas via train.

The threat to sue was sparked by the approval of a pilot LNG rail shipment program in Alaska.

According to the letter, the threat of legal action "uncovered documents showing the secretive approval process violated the National Environmental Policy Act."

Center for Biological Diversity Attorney, Emily Jeffers, told us why the letter was sent, as well as whether the shipment of LNG could ever be a viable option.

"If at the point they make a decision to comply with federal law, then that would be when we would formally tell them that we we're going to sue them. But at this point, we are just urging them to do the right thing, because changing federal regulation to allow transport of liquefied natural gas by rail has serious environmental ramifications which need to be evaluated before a decision can be made," said Jeffers. "I think it is a very risky endeavor, so I would be skeptical of any circumstances where it could actually be done safely."