New York State Adopts LNG Rules

New York State Adopts LNG Rules

New York State, through its Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), has adopted new rules which define a permitting program for the safe siting, construction, and operation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in New York State as required by Article 23, Title 17 of the Environmental Conservation Law. LNG facilities are those that either store LNG in a tank system or convert LNG into natural gas through vaporization.

Part 570 also addresses the transportation of LNG including the statutory requirement that intrastate transportation occur only along approved routes. The Notice of Adoption was filed with the New York State Department of State on January 27, 2015; Part 570 is effective February 26, 2015.

The substantial revision establishes an upper limit of 70,000 gallons on the amount of LNG that a facility is permitted to store. This is a conservative approach that recognizes the different requirements for large tanks/facilities included in the National Fire Protection Association standards on this subject. As DEC gains experience with permitting LNG facilities, DEC may reconsider the capacity limit in subsequent revisions to Part 570. The new rules will allow LNG storage facilities to be built in New York City for the first time since a moratorium on LNG facilities was imposed in 1973.

As indicated in the 2011 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) report, there is consensus among regulatory agencies that the NFPA standards establish appropriate requirements for the safe management of LNG. DEC noted prior to adoption, that Part 570 would provide the most comprehensive LNG management system in the nation, because beyond the NFPA standards, DEC will require permits, tailored for each facility.

Part 570 and the revised rule making documents clearly indicate that other types of LNG facilities may be permitted, although truck fueling facilities are likely to predominate among early applications. Long-haul trucking fleets are increasingly adopting LNG fuel, encouraged by cleaner, quieter operations, fuel pricing and technology that delivers performance comparable to diesel trucks. The rules clarify that LNG fuel tanks exempt from Part 570 are those used to power a vehicle, not tank trailers used to transport LNG to be used later as fuel.

Published General Comments in Support of Rule Changes show DEC was encouraged to promulgate Part 570, noting it provided environmental benefits such as reduced emissions from substituting natural gas for petroleum. The State of California and Argonne National Laboratory have found that the life-cycle carbon footprint of producing and using LNG is less than that of petroleum or coal. Specific reductions in emissions were noted for hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and greenhouse gases.

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