Let’s Move The Energy Bill Conference Forward and Open Up LNG Exports

With Congress back from one of the longest vacations in more than half a century, it’s time to get back to work on some overdue items that were left languishing during the summer recess. Just before the break, the Senate voted to enter into a formal conference with the House to negotiate final provisions within the two Chambers’ competing energy modernization bills. While movement toward compromise is progress, one bipartisan policy shift vital to America’s continued energy growth has gotten caught in the crosshairs of disagreements between Senate Democrats and House Republicans: liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. There is currently language in both bills that would streamline regulatory wait times for LNG export permits by mandating a specific timeline to approve project applications currently tied up in the bureaucratic process somewhere between the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Some of these applications have been pending for years, including an application for a terminal in Savannah, Ga., that was just approved after pending for more than 1,000 days. During the past year, both chambers have recognized the necessity of modernizing policies to reflect the U.S. position as the world’s leading producer of energy, yet LNG export applications continue to languish. With an abundant supply of U.S.-produced low-cost natural gas to fuel domestic demands for decades to come, exporting LNG in the global marketplace is the next step on the path to increased economic prosperity and global leadership. America has not seen a broad energy policy bill since the Bush administration – an error that is threatening our energy security. U.S. LNG has already begun exports through some terminals, like Sabine Pass, but the application process is slow and cumbersome, resulting in lost opportunities for U.S. businesses as other global projects come online. The debate over LNG exports is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. It should be this Congress’s top priority to expedite the approval process of LNG export licenses. Before members break at the end of the month, we encourage lawmakers to reconcile differences on the two energy bills and send this bipartisan legislation to the President. We must not waste any more time hindering our nation’s ability to achieve greater economic stability. Let’s move on a vote to pass a final energy moderation...

read more

LNG’s Race Against the Clock

The United States is long overdue for an energy bill that will modernize our nation’s policy for an energy future of new technology advancements, global demand, and goals. Not since 2007 has one been signed into law, and our nation is desperate for another. Luckily, the House and Senate overcame the challenge of passing their versions of an energy bill earlier this year. But now they’re racing against the clock to reach an agreement on various provisions before this year comes to a close. During Congress’ leave, staffers, lobbyists, and industry leaders have been hard at work laying the groundwork for when lawmakers resume session on September 6. However, two big challenges await their return: the possibility of controversial amendments and the November elections. Though important and a necessity, elections take away vital time that lawmakers could use to negotiate and pass bills before the year ends setting a very tight timeline for important legislation to reach before the finish line. Greg Bertelsen, senior director for energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, commented on this pressed timeline in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner saying the election just “shortens the calendar” and truly believes the bill “can happen this year.” Energy has been a hot topic of conversation throughout the election season with primary and presidential candidates giving opinions on all energy issues. But what’s key about both pieces passed by the House and Senate is the broad bipartisan policy incorporated into both that focuses on our nation’s needs. Specifically, the language surrounding liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications to non-FTA nations. An essential component to securing the United States’ energy independence, LNG export facility applications are currently backlogged within the Department of Energy (DOE). Projects could be delayed for months, or even years, costing time, jobs, and opportunities for local economies to grow. With a new energy bill, the DOE will be held to a deadline in order to avoid future complications and costly delays. Without the passing of a new energy bill, the LNG export applications deadline, plus many other crucial energy policies, will be delayed yet again – a mistake that could cost our nation dearly. A modern energy policy is critical for the future of the United States; without it our nation cannot compete with global markets, meet demands from customers, or provide the necessary security to our utilities. Congress cannot delay on this bill anymore and should hit the ground running come Tuesday’s...

read more

According to VP Biden Russia’s Pipeline is a “Bad Deal” for Europe

In a recent speech in Latvia, Vice President Joe Biden pushed an agenda of energy diversity in the European market. He specifically stressed that Europe needed to be looking beyond Russia for allies that have extensive natural gas reserves, like the United States. The timing of this speech could not have been better. With the approach of colder weather coming, Europeans are beginning to think of the necessary energy needed to keep homes and businesses running. Over the past few years, European regulators have become wary of business practices of Russian’s Gazprom who has been linked to anti-trust issues. This has caused so much concern that recently the Polish government agency blocked an expansion of Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline due to concerns about competition. Biden himself called this pipeline “a fundamentally bad deal for Europe.” As a result, those countries who rely heavily on Russian natural gas, like Ukraine and Poland, need to seek alternative sources. In his speech, Biden said that “Europe doesn’t need the project [Nord Stream 2] and can rely on more natural gas from the United States.” Industry experts agree. Marty Durbin, marketing director with the American Petroleum Institute made a statement in response to Biden’s speech: “America’s growth in natural gas production means that through liquefied natural gas exports we can give our allies stability and security in the global natural gas market.” It’s true that U.S. LNG exports can lend a hand to our allies in Europe, with the added benefit of strengthening our energy security by becoming a leader in the natural gas market, but without a more streamlined application process for LNG exports, export companies have their hands tied. With Russia looking to monopolize the European energy market, the U.S. should take steps to ensure that all markets are open and competitive. But in order to do so, unrestricted exports should be flowing freely from the United States to its allies. This cannot be accomplished until the red tape binding the application process exporting to non-free trade agreement countries be cut – an issue that Congress’ energy conference should tackle immediately once back in...

read more