Saturday, June 20, 2020

OMB Approves LNG by Rail Final Rule

Yesterday the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it had approved a final rule from the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) on “Hazardous Materials: Liquefied Natural Gas by Rail”. The rule was sent to OIRA for approval on May 1st. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for this action was published in October 2019.

With the possibility becoming more pronounced that Trump may be a single-term President, we are starting to approach the time when an outgoing administration begins to worry about its legacy. Trump came into office as an anti-regulatory campaigner. While that has not generally changed, the Administration is becoming more prolific in writing permissive regulations that allow industry to take actions that were not previously allowed.

This rulemaking certainly fits that description and that is almost certainly the reason that we have seen such a quick turnaround of the final bill (less than six months since the end of the comment period) even with the large number of comments that were submitted in opposition to the proposed rule. The downside of this is that if Trump is not re-elected and the Republicans to not retain control of the Senate, this rulemaking would be a prime target for reversal under the Congressional Review Act of 1996.

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