Senator backs bill aimed at streamlining natural gas exports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is co-sponsoring legislation to broaden natural gas exports to U.S. allies in order to advance American national security interests.

The Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013 (S.192) would require the secretary of energy to allow approve exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), to NATO allies and Japan, according to a release from Cochran’s office. Under current law, the energy secretary is only required to approve exports to countries that have free trade agreements with the United States that encompass trade in natural gas.

“It makes sense to make our natural gas resources available to support our allies and to strengthen U.S. national security. That is not automatically the case today. The intent of this legislation also makes sense economically by expanding the market for our natural gas. It is my hope that it will create new opportunities for these energy interests in Mississippi.”

S.192 would amend current law by ending the requirement that the secretary of energy make a “public interest determination,” which involves a public comment period, before approving applications to export natural gas to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the United States.

In addition to expanding exports to NATO allies and Japan, the Expedited LNG for American Allies Act would allow natural gas exports to other nations if these natural gas exports will promote the national security of the United States. These determinations would be made by the secretary of state, in consultation with the secretary of defense.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced the legislation.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

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