Lawmakers step up pressure on DOE over natural gas exports

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Notable signatories include: Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who most polls show is leading the race for New Mexico's open Senate seat; Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), whose district contains Koch Industries; and Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), who has seen an increasing role in House GOP energy issues with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in his backyard.

The letter follows one sent by a bipartisan group of 44 lawmakers from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas sent in August.

The letter sent Monday called for “renewed urgency” by the Energy Department (DOE) in releasing the second part of a natural gas export study. That study’s release was delayed last week until after the election.

DOE said the complexities of analyzing global markets caused the delay in the report, which is being conducted by a third party.

The first part of that export study said exporting LNG would raise natural gas prices, causing a 1 to 3 percent annual increase in electricity costs between 2015 and 2035.

Democrats say rising power costs from exporting LNG would limit the competitiveness of the nation’s manufacturing sector, while also raising power rates for consumers.

Republicans and the oil-and-gas industry contend jobs gains from exporting LNG would offset any cost increases.