House panel sets hearing on natural gas bill

A panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing for next week on a bill to speed approvals for natural gas export facilities.

Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is running for Senate, introduced the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act on March 6 as an attempt to lay the groundwork for selling natural gas to allies, including nations that rely on Russian for fuel, such as Ukraine.

Gardner’s bill would mandate that the Energy Department immediately grant all applications to build liquefied natural gas export facilities that had been filed by March 6.

“President Obama today said that ‘we're going to stand firm in our unwavering support for Ukraine.’ That should include unlocking U.S. natural gas supplies to help free Ukraine and other European nations from Russia’s influence,” Gardner said in a Monday statement after the subcommittee on energy and power announced the hearing.

Obama issued sanctions Monday against several Russian government officials involved in an attempt to annex Crimea from Ukraine. But Republicans urged Obama to go further to punish Russia, saying the liquified natural gas export bill would loosen the nation’s grip on the region.