[authors: Thomas J. Spulak, Allison F. Kassir]
Before leaving for the August recess, 44 bipartisan House Members wrote to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu, urging him to expedite the approval process for pending applications to export liquefied natural gas ("LNG"). Representatives from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas wrote that with the rapid increase in natural gas production, “our region and our country need an outlet for natural gas production.” The 10 Democrats and 34 Republicans observed that Canada and Australia are “aggressively developing” their export plans and noted that “it is time to bring a renewed sense of urgency to the approval process.”
As we have reported before, Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) continue to promote a “time out” on natural gas exports. Senator Wyden’s policy interest is supported by sentiment in his home state of Oregon. Over the past weekend, a group of Oregon landowners, Landowners United, filed a motion with DOE to intervene and protest an application by Jordan Cove Energy Project LP, to export natural gas to countries with which the United States does not have free trade agreements. The Sierra Club Inc. has also filed motions to block construction of the project.
To date, DOE has only approved full export rights for one project. DOE is expected to wait for the findings from a soon-to-be released study on the economic impact of natural gas exports before acting on the eight other pending applications.