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For Release: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DEC Adopts Most Stringent Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Regulations in the Nation

LNG to Become Available to Fuel Trucks, Potentially Reducing Diesel Emissions

New York's environment will benefit under the nation's most stringent new regulations adopted today that will make liquefied natural gas (LNG) available to fuel trucks and for other purposes, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced. The adopted regulations enable permits to be granted to safely site, construct and operate new LNG facilities under requirements established in a DEC permit. As a result, LNG will be available to haulers as a cleaner burning alternative to diesel fuel.

"New York's new regulations provide the most comprehensive program to safely site, build and operate LNG facilities in the country. By requiring an environmental and safety review for each new facility, New York's environment and economy will benefit from safely providing liquefied natural gas vehicles opportunities to fill up in the State," said Commissioner Martens. "Natural gas is cleaner to burn and LNG provides an efficient way to store the fuel for those who normally use, or would like to begin using, natural gas for space heating or other uses."

Projections indicate that for the first five years, nearly all of the expected permit applications will be for facilities designed to supply fuel for long-haul tractor trailers and large capacity fleet trucks that use LNG as a substitute for diesel fuel. LNG offers a lower cost, cleaner fuel for truckers and an emissions benefit for the environment.

The LNG program will include:

  • evaluation of each permit application on its own merits taking into consideration the proposed location of the facility and tanks and additional siting criteria in the regulation;
  • compliance with the siting requirements in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, which address setbacks, evacuation issues, and tank capacities;
  • reviews of the capabilities and preparedness of local fire departments; and
  • adoption of permit conditions, such as enhancing local response capabilities and greater setbacks, or denial of applications as necessary to ensure safe operation.

The rulemaking sets standards for facilities that store LNG or convert LNG back into a gas for use as fuel. Facility designs must be certified by an independent third party to be in conformance with the standards of the NFPA. These standards have been in wide use nationally and internationally for decades.

DEC's approach under the new regulations, will also require site inspections, training of local fire department personnel, the closing of out-of-service LNG storage tanks and prompt spill reporting. The regulations will not change the existing statutory moratorium which prohibits new LNG facilities within New York City.

DEC proposed the regulations in September 2013 and received over 57,000 submissions during the public comment period last year. In response to comments received, DEC issued a revised proposed rule on November 12, 2014 that limits the total amount of LNG that can be stored at a permitted LNG facility to 70,000 gallons to address concerns about the safety of large facilities. During the public comment period that followed, ending on December 4, 2014, DEC received approximately 60 comments.

The final rule making documents, including the Assessment of Public Comment, are available on DEC's website.

LNG consists primarily of methane, the same substance in natural gas used to heat homes. LNG should not be confused with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which is primarily propane.

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