WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Attorneys general from 15 states, including Maryland, and Washington, D.C., are opposing a Trump administration effort to allow liquid methane gas to be shipped by rail.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation Monday, the group called the proposed change, which would allow methane gas to be shipped in bulk by train, “alarming,” saying officials haven’t taken into account the public safety hazards of a potential spill or crash.

“Proceeding with the Proposed Rule would put the States’ residents, first responders and environmental resources at greater risk of catastrophic accidents, a dynamic which (the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration) has failed to adequately analyze just as it has failed to consider the environmental and climate impacts of allowing (liquefied natural gas) to be shipped in rail tank cars,” the group wrote.

In a statement, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said the rule would let the gas be shipped through densely-populated areas, which could have dangerous consequences.

“Here in Maryland, we need only remember the Howard Street Tunnel Fire of 2001 to know that sending hazardous materials along our rail lines can have catastrophic consequences,” he wrote. “LNG is dangerous, and the Trump administration has failed to provide for the safety of our people and our environment.”

Proponents of the rule change say liquefied natural gas has been transported safely on highways for decades and the gas is a critical part of the U.S. energy economy.

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