LNG Exports Could Weaken Russian Stranglehold on Ukraine and Eastern European Nations – Backlog of 24 Applications Due to Energy Department’s Inaction
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today introduced bipartisan legislation to help expedite the export of U.S. liquefied natural gas to our global allies, including Ukraine and other Eastern European nations currently at the mercy of Russian energy supplies. Consistent with the committee’s conclusions from its recent report, H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, provides that all pending LNG export applications for which a notice has been published in the Federal Register as of March 6, 2014, will be granted without delay. The legislation also modifies the standard of review for future export applications, shifting the benchmark from Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries to World Trade Organization (WTO) members. Under current law, LNG export facilities shipping gas to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the United States require an additional level of approval by the Department of Energy, a process characterized by extensive delays. To date, this administration has only approved six export applications and 24 applications are still awaiting action.
“Natural gas means jobs in Colorado and energy independence for America,” said Gardner. “It also serves our national security interests as an aggressive Russian regime looks to expand power in former Soviet Union countries. This legislation helps our allies in the region and across the globe while creating jobs and economic opportunity here in Colorado.”
“The turmoil in Ukraine underscores the problem with DOE’s unnecessarily sluggish LNG export approval process. Passing this legislation sends the clear signal that America intends to take full advantage of our energy resources, developing them not only for our own use, but to ensure the lifeline of U.S. gas supplies will be available to our allies, and that we will stand firm to Putin and supplant Russia’s influence,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “I will continue to work with my colleagues on the committee, in leadership, and in the Senate to fix this problem as soon as possible. This is a critical piece of legislation for energy, economic, and national security.”
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said yesterday that he was open to discussing reforms to the process with Congress, given the fact that DOE cannot determine where the gas is shipped once the facility is approved. This legislation would ensure that exports to WTO countries are not subject to unnecessary delays.
Click HERE to view a copy of the legislative text.
The committee has been actively engaged on the domestic and geopolitical benefits of LNG exports. In October of 2013, the committee held a forum on “The Geopolitical Implications and Mutual Benefits of U.S. LNG Exports” with numerous diplomats and energy advisors, including representatives from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Haiti, India, Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand.