The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing a permitting program for liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and LNG transport within the state in light of increasing interest in the development of LNG facilities. Such a move could lift a 40-year ban on new LNG storage in the state.

The two types of facilities that DEC expects to permit most frequently include facilities to fuel trucks and facilities that store LNG as a backup heating fuel. DEC is required to implement regulations for the safe siting, operation and transport of LNG and LNG facilities.

"It is necessary and desirable to promulgate these new regulations to conform to the LNG statute, especially due to the recent interest from businesses and utilities in New York State who have proposed LNG projects in the state," DEC said.

Partly in response to a 1973 maintenance accident at an LNG facility on Staten Island that killed 40 workers, the New York Legislature enacted a statewide moratorium on the siting of new LNG facilities. This moratorium was lifted on April 1, 1999 for all locations except municipalities with a population of one million or more (i.e., New York City). The moratorium has been repeatedly extended every two years by the legislature. Most recently, in May the moratorium was extended to April 1, 2015.

DEC must promulgate the new regulations before any new LNG facilities can be sited and operated in areas not covered by the ongoing moratorium. Not affected are compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. The regulations do not require permits for vehicles or vessels that are fueled by LNG, but they do regulate dispensing facilities (fueling stations) that store LNG.

Issuance of permits is expected to attract corporations and industries interested in constructing and operating LNG facilities, which is expected to result in increased economic growth and job creation throughout the state, DEC said.

Among the proposed requirements, applicants for permits must offer emergency training to local fire department staff. Compliance with training and inspection requirements can either be determined by DEC's personnel or third parties who are qualified to monitor compliance.

"With the construction and operation of new LNG facilities, numerous employment opportunities will be created as this new, environmentally preferable, alternative fuel becomes available throughout the state," DEC said.

Comments on the proposed regulations are due by Nov. 4. More information is available from the DEC website.