OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House moving to speed up gas exports?

WHITE HOUSE ON LNG: While the Obama administration hasn't said it will speed up its approval process of natural-gas exports, it did take a stronger line on it Wednesday.

The White House signaled support for increased exports of liquified natural gas in a joint statement with the European Union.

"We welcome the prospect of U.S. LNG exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners," the joint statement said.

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But when speaking at the EU-U.S. summit in Belgium Wednesday, President Obama indicated there could be some roadblocks in the way of sending gas exports to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries.

Obama said while the U.S. has authorized a number of exports, they are "going into the open market" and aren't "targeted directly."

You can read more about the administration's comments on exports and stricter energy sanctions on Russia here and here.

What about oil exports?
 
Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources Inc., told the House Foreign Relations Committee that lawmakers should focus on passing legislation to enable crude oil exports to U.S. allies, not natural gas.
 
His main reason? While natural gas import facilities are hard to come by in Eastern Europe, similar facilities for crude oil are common. A law from the OPEC oil embargo in the 1970s currently makes it illegal to export crude.
 
Read more in E2-Wire here.
 

H.R. 1459: The House approved legislation Wednesday that creates new hurdles for presidents when designating national monuments.

Republicans said the bill, H.R. 1459, is needed to prevent presidents from both parties from abusing their power.

"The majority of the designations Teddy Roosevelt made were in territories that were not states," Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said. "Things have changed since that time — unfortunately, this law hasn't."

Read more from The Hill's Floor Action blog here.

ON TAP THURSDAY:

The Environmental Protection Agency will be the focus of another budget hearing Thursday. This one will be held by the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on the EPA and the Interior Department, led by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.).
 
The hearing will feature EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyHow Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform Overnight Energy: Labor rift opens over green mega-donor GOP: EPA is violating court hold on climate rule MORE as the sole witness.
 

ON TAP THURSDAY II:

Cheryl LaFleur, acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will be the guest speaker at an event hosted by the Natural Gas Roundtable.
 
Among other responsibilities, FERC must approve all applications to build facilities that export liquefied natural gas, which has been a hot topic in recent weeks.
 
Rest of Thursday's agenda...
 
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet to consider the nominations of Rhea Suh and Janice Schneider for high-level Department of the Interior positions.
 
Republicans, especially from Louisiana, have urged the committee to reject the nomination of Suh as assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, for what they see as her hostile opinion of natural-gas drilling.

 
AROUND THE WEB:

Republicans have accused the Fish and Wildlife Service of stonewalling requests for information regarding what the agency’s doing about deaths of protected birds and wind farms, The Associated Press reports.
 
A green group in the United Kingdom said that former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, noted for his efforts to reduce the state’s carbon emissions, has sizeable investments in logging companies that destroy large swaths of forests, the Huffington Post reports.
 
The Netherlands has joined a U.S.-led initiative to end public financing of coal-fired power plants overseas, Bloomberg BNA reported.

 

NEWS BITES:

LNG exports... Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) gave the White House a small pat on the back Wednesday for its comments on natural-gas exports.

Barrasso commended the White House for "expressing more support for exporting U.S. [natural gas] to Europe."

"In addition to issuing positive statements, President Obama should direct his Department of Energy to immediately approve more of the 24 applications that are still pending," Barrasso said in a statement.

National monuments... As we said above, the House passed a bill aimed at curbing national monument designations. Well, Democrats and conservation groups aren't too happy about it. Below are a few of their comments.

"This bill is simply pandering to the ideologues that disagree with the majority of Americans who want to protect our public lands for future generations,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said in a statement, adding that it would end an era of protections for iconic American landscapes.

The Sierra Club has dubbed the legislation the "preventing new parks" bill.

"Instead of undermining popular protection efforts, House Republicans should be doing their part to further efforts to make our protected public lands more representative of America's diverse history and continue the conservation legacy that is so vital to communities across the country," Dan Chu of the Sierra Club said in a statement.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out what ran on E2-Wire on Wednesday...

- Obama talks climate change in Showtime documentary
- House votes to curb White House authority national monuments
- Obama's warning: Energy 'central focus' of deeper sanctions
- Export crude, not gas, to help allies, oil exec says
- Bill would give feds new power to protect electric grid
- US now producing 10 percent of world's crude oil
- GOP slams EPA for overreach
- Republicans questions EPA head on fake CIA agent case
- White House signals support for gas exports
- Energy Department not sending 'laser tag' combat trainers to Russia
- Christie hit by NJ court for repealing greenhouse gas rules
- US triumphs over China in minerals dispute
- Texas rep. pushes for oil, gas drilling in national parks
- 7M died in 2012 due to air pollution, WHO says

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com.