House Republicans push to speed up LNG export approvals

The Republican majority on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said in an April 28 statement that with the first shipment of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) having just hit landfall in Europe, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) has just marked up and passed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

This act included an amendment offered by Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., containing language from committee member Rep. Bill Johnson’s, R-Ohio, LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act. The provision would expedite the approval process for LNG exports, a process currently mired in bureaucratic inefficiency and red tape, the Republicans said. 

“A streamlined approval process would allow American LNG to enter the European Market, loosening Russia’s grip on energy supplies and prices,” said the GOP statement. “Selling “liquid freedom” to our allies overseas is the ultimate win-win, bringing tremendous economic and geopolitical benefits to both sides.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has also been working in this year. In January 2015, the House approved Johnson’s bill, which was included in the committee’s House-passed comprehensive energy bill, H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act.

Johnson said: “This week, the first shipment of U.S. liquefied natural gas arrived in Portugal, cracking into a European energy market currently dominated by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Reducing the leverage Russia has over our allies, while opening up new markets for American natural gas and creating jobs here at home, is a good thing. I thank Rep. Bridenstine for leading the effort to pass my LNG Permitting and Certainty and Transparency Act as part of the FY17 NDAA.”

Natural gas exports found a place in a major defense spending bill on April 27, as the legislation makes its way through the House’s markup process. The amendment to the NDAA for fiscal 2017 would set a strict 30-day deadline for the U.S,. Energy Department to approve LNG export terminals. The amendment was framed as a hedge against Russia and others that would look to use natural gas as a weapon to impose their will over U.S. allies in Europe.

Bridenstine said in his own April 28 statement about the amendment: “Energy security is national security. Exporting LNG to our allies strengthens our national security by reducing dependence on hostile regimes, plus it grows the American economy. America is the world’s largest producer of natural gas. Oklahoma is the fourth-largest producing state. DOE bureaucrats are currently holding up 30 LNG export applications which have already completed full environmental and permitting reviews.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.