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Gardner’s remarks on LNG exports bill

LNG Industry,

The US House of Representatives yesterday began debate on Congressman Cory Gardner’s legislation, H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. This bipartisan legislation will increase LNG exports to US allies around the world, as well as create 45,000 jobs in the US over the next four years.

Gardner’s remarks

“America’s natural gas output has been rising since 2006, and the Energy Information Administration expects the increases to continue for decades to come.

“As a result, we can meet domestic demand for affordable natural gas while also producing a surplus for export to our allies around the world. The only thing standing in the way is outdated federal red tape that greatly delays the construction of LNG export facilities.

“H.R. 6, the “Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act,” is a targeted bill that cuts the red tape and puts the Department of Energy on a reasonable deadline to act on LNG export applications. I would like to thank my friend and colleague Gene Green for his co-sponsorship of this bipartisan bill, and I urge all of you to support it.

“According to the lead study conducted for DOE, natural gas exports would be a net benefit to the American economy. These exports would improve the balance of payments and support up to 45,000 jobs associated with additional natural gas production as well as the construction and operation of LNG export facilities by 2018. Needless to say, these new jobs could not come at a better time for the economy.

“Remember the concerns many of us had over the US economy hemorrhaging billions of dollars every year going overseas to pay for energy imports? Well, for natural gas the roles can be reversed, and we could be the ones selling energy on the global market and bringing in billions of dollars in job-sustaining revenues.

“The economic impacts alone make natural gas exports a winning policy, but the geopolitical impacts are a fringe benefit far too big to ignore. Allies around the world have told us that they would greatly benefit from American LNG.

“Last October, the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a forum that included ambassadors and other officials representing 11 US allies, all of whom strongly urged us to enter the global LNG marketplace. And since then, several other allies have stepped forward with the same request. This includes our friends in Eastern Europe unfortunate enough to be reliant on Russia for natural gas.

“Not only do they face unfair pricing, but also political pressure as a result of their dependence on Russia. These nations believe that the very signal that America is serious about LNG exports would immediately reduce Russia’s negotiating leverage, even before the first LNG shipment actually goes out. Thus, H.R. 6 will start doing good the day it is enacted.

“I should note that our efforts on LNG exports began before the current crisis erupted in Ukraine, but Russia’s actions over the past several months demonstrate the importance of this bill. And Russia’s recent decision to cut off supplies to Ukraine further underscores the need for America to provide Europe an alternative supply of natural gas. Indeed, we can effectively push back against Russia’s aggression and help our friends without ever putting any troops in harm’s way.

“Beyond Europe, we can also strengthen our economic ties with allies in Asia who would rather buy their energy from us than from less reliable Middle-Eastern suppliers. We can also assist nations in achieving their environmental goals by offering the option of clean-burning natural gas. And we can help many developing countries by providing them with an energy source that is cheaper than the choices available to them now.

“The economic benefits alone, or the geopolitical benefits alone, make LNG exports a worthwhile policy. But taken together, they make it a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the decades-old federal approval process for LNG export facilities is acting as an impediment. Proposed projects have languished at DOE for years on end. And while DOE has recently announced some changes to the process, the agency is still under no deadline to act.

“The amendment I am offering with Mr. Green changes that. It provides that once the extensive environmental review conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to comply with National Environmental Policy Act is complete for a project, DOE has a 30 day deadline to issue a final decision on the application pending before the agency. It’s a sensible and workable solution to the current regulatory bottleneck.

“It is time to help our friends abroad while creating jobs at home. I urge all of my colleagues to vote yes on H.R. 6. Thank you.”

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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