House votes to speed up LNG exports

Fuel Fix:
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation to accelerate natural gas exports, despite muted opposition from the Obama administration and even as the Senate rejected a more aggressive plan.

The bill, passed 277-133, would force the Energy Department to decide whether to grant licenses to broadly export liquefied natural gas to pending projects within 30 days after they clear an environmental review.

Under the Energy Department’s current practice, there is no deadline for those decisions.

Instead, the timeline is open ended, with the department waiting until environmental reviews are completed before it takes up applications to export LNG to countries that aren’t U.S. free trade partners. For onshore LNG export projects, the environmental reviews typically happen while the ventures are under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s scrutiny.

But it can still take months after those environmental analyses are done — and even after a FERC approval — for the Energy Department to deliver a final verdict on project’s export licenses.

Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, who sponsored the House-passed bill, said that’s too long, especially for projects that have been pending for years. The answer, he said, is legislation “cutting through the bureaucratic red tape.”
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This is a much needed bill that shows at least some in Washington recognize the need for strategic thinking.  Greater exports of US LNG could cripple the Russians ability to extort Europe on the delivery of gas and will also create jobs in this country.  Those who oppose the measure are willing to let Russia get away with intimidation and threats of cutting off the flow of gas or raising the price to confiscatory levels.  Democrats in teh Senate need to stop blocking similar legislation and doing the bidding of the despots.

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