LNG Reform Deserves Swift Senate Approval

Sen. Cruz is proposing an amendment to the Keystone XL bill that will require that the Department of Energy to expedite all approvals for LNG export to any World Trade Organization (WTO) country. This would be a major improvement over the status quo.

Currently the LNG export approval process is too slow and cumbersome. LNG exports require two different permits from the federal government. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reviews an application for an LNG export terminal and issues construction authorization. The Department of Energy (DOE) reviews the application and issues the export license.

Last August, DOE proposed rules that limited expedited LNG export reviews to only projects which would export LNG to countries with which the U.S. has Free Trade Agreements. The problem is that the U.S. only has Free Trade Agreements with a mere 20 countries, including countries like Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman that have little need for LNG.

Last year, Sens. Mark Udall, Begich, and Heitkamp introduced the American Job Creation and Strategic Alliances LNG Act—S. 2083. Both Sens. Udall and Begich lost their re-election bids, but Sen. Cruz is carrying on their legacy on LNG reform by offering this language as an amendment to the Keystone XL bill. As Sen. Udall said about this language last year:

Our nation’s clean-burning and job-creating natural gas has an important role to play in strengthening global security. The ongoing crisis in Ukraine shows why we need to responsibly develop our natural gas reserves and expand our ability to export this resource abroad. This common-sense bill will strengthen our economy at home and help Colorado companies and small businesses across America bolster our presence abroad.

That was true last year, and it is still true today. LNG exports will help in places like Ukraine, but it will also help our allies such as Japan who rely on large amounts of LNG. This language deserves swift action by the Senate.

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