Cochran, Wicker pushing for more liquefied natural gas exports

Sen. Roger Wicker

Sen. Roger Wicker

Sen. Thad Cochran

Sen. Thad Cochran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., are calling on the Obama Administration to expedite approval of project applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The senators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz regarding the issue.

The letter sent by the senators states, “LNG exports are…important to America’s national security interests at home and abroad. If the United States can provide an abundant and reliable natural gas alternative to our allies, we can help reduce the leverage of nations like Russia that use the energy market to impose their will and create unrest. In light of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we must consider how increased U.S. natural gas capacity can help mitigate the effects of such aggression and violations of international law.

“The Administration, however, has been slow to approve applications to export LNG to countries that do not yet have free trade agreements with the United States. One of the facilities awaiting a decision is the Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The company estimates that Department of Energy approval of its request could lead to approximately $8 billion in investment and the creation of numerous jobs for the region. And yet, the Gulf LNG application has been pending with DOE since 2012.

“There is significant bipartisan support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to expedite and streamline LNG export applications. The economic and national security advantages of supporting LNG exports are too great for bureaucratic roadblocks to stall America’s potential. We strongly encourage you to improve the LNG export application process for our domestic energy industry.”

Cochran and Wicker are cosponsors of the Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013 (S.192), which was authored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo). The bill would allow the secretary of energy to approve exports of natural gas, including LNG, to NATO allies and Japan. Under current law, the secretary is only required to approve natural gas exports to countries that have free trade agreements with the United States.

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