Kennedy, Cruz introduce bill to promote liquefied natural gas exports

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in introducing the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act, which would remove regulatory bottlenecks that discourage the liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade and increase LNG exports to the more than 160 countries in the World Trade Organization.

“LNG exports sustain Louisiana jobs, promote America’s energy independence and reduce global emissions. We should make it easier, not harder, to export American LNG to countries that need it. Louisiana is the nation’s number one exporter of liquefied natural gas, but we’re taking a beating at the hands of our own president. The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act would combat President Biden’s war on energy jobs by reducing unnecessary restrictions on LNG export permits,” said Kennedy.

“Thanks to the United States’ development and use of natural gas, America leads the world in reducing carbon emissions. While many choose to protest and ignore the critical role of natural gas in our energy future, Congress must do its part to continue advancing America’s energy renaissance. Increasing LNG exports will not only continue to lower energy costs for consumers and increase America’s energy security—while at the same time reducing emissions and improving air quality in the United States—but will also strengthen our international relationships around the globe and help bring these same climate benefits to the world,” said Cruz.

Despite the pandemic, American LNG exports reached all-time highs in November and December 2020, and the U.S. remains a net exporter of natural gas. The U.S. also exported LNG to a record 38 countries.

The review process for an application to export LNG to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries can take years. While the previous administration greatly reduced the processing time for non-FTA permits, Congress must provide greater certainty and help ensure that the review process is not arbitrarily lengthened.

The U.S. has one of the lowest flaring intensity levels in the world, and methane emissions from U.S. natural gas production have decreased nearly 25 percent since 1990—all while natural gas production grew more than 70 percent.

A 2019 Department of Energy report conducted by the National Energy Technology Lab concluded that American LNG exports resulted in reduced emissions abroad.

The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act would:

·       Amend the Natural Gas Act to expedite non-FTA export permits. This would ensure applications for exporting LNG to certain non-FTA countries would be treated the same as applications for exporting LNG to FTA countries and would be “deemed to be consistent with the public interest.”

·       Retain current law for restricted nations. Any nation subject to sanctions or trade restrictions is specifically excluded, and the president or Congress can specifically exclude any nation from expedited approval.

The bill text is available here.