The US House of Representatives yesterday approved H.R 351, the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act. This bill will help speed up the approval of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects. The legislation was approved by a bipartisan vote of 277 to 133. Authored by Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), the bill would end the delays blocking the export of US LNG by requiring the Department of Energy to issue a decision on export applications following the conclusion of environmental review of the LNG facilities.
Supporters of the bill argue that increasing US LNG exports would help create jobs in America. At the request of the Department of Energy, NERA economic consulting conducted a study and found that US LNG exports would result in net gains to the US domestic economy and could reduce the average number of unemployed workers by as much as 45,000 by 2018. The Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance projects that expanding the market for US LNG would create an additional 150,000 jobs in the supply chain. Supporters also assert that US LNG exports would provide US allies in Europe and across the globe with an alternative safe and secure source of energy, reducing the coercive power of exporters like Russia.
“The domestic and geopolitical benefits make increasing US LNG exports a win-win, but the Department of Energy continues to hold up the process. This bill would help jumpstart approvals so we can start creating jobs and sending our surplus gas to those countries that need it the most,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
White House deputy press secretary, Eric Schultz said the bill is "unnecessary." He continued, “Because the Department of Energy has already taken steps to modernize the LNG (liquified natural gas) export approval process and ensure applications are looked at efficiently and expeditiously. So we believe the process is working well, and that bill is totally unnecessary."
The American Petroleum Institute (API) applauded the vote. “Today’s strong vote, to be followed by a Senate hearing Thursday, shows that lawmakers are working fast to secure America’s competitiveness as an energy superpower,” said API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “This is a top priority for the new Congress because LNG exports represent a clear-cut, bipartisan opportunity to increase domestic energy production, create more American jobs, and protect the security of the U.S. and its allies.”