DOE delays decision on natural-gas export license

The Oct. 5 ruling, which DOE released recently, says DOE needs more time Sierra Club’s complaint to decide whether it should grant a rehearing, a DOE official told The Hill on Tuesday. The official noted DOE has not issued a stay on the permit.

Andrew Ware, a spokesman with Cheniere, said the company does not expect the Sierra Club complaint to impact the process.

Still, the delay will likely do little to calm Republicans and some Democrats who say the administration is not serious about exporting LNG and that its regulations hinder the process.

The Sierra Club said the FERC’s assessment did not answer questions about natural-gas production’s effects on air emissions, water quality and geology.

Many Democrats share that view. They believe exporting LNG would ramp up use of unconventional drilling methods, commenting that too little is known about their environmental and health impacts. Some also are concerned that exporting LNG would raise natural-gas prices, denting consumers’ and manufacturers’ finances.

But many lawmakers, mostly Republican, say the exports will help create jobs and increase revenues while also stabilizing natural-gas prices. They have urged the administration to expedite LNG export licenses, with some suggesting the White House is slow-walking the permits as a concession to environmentalists.

DOE grants LNG export licenses more readily to countries with which the United States already has a free-trade agreement. Of 19 applications, DOE has approved 14 LNG export permits to free-trade-agreement nations.

The administration has said analyzing fragmented global natural-gas markets is complex, and has cautioned against expanding LNG exports too quickly before the impacts are known.

The Sierra Club did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

—This story was updated at 6:26 p.m.