OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Feds move on natural gas exports

EXPORTS: It was a "good week" for liquefied natural gas exports, as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) put it, after the administration gave the thumbs up to two export facilities in a 24 hour time span.

On Thursday, the Energy Department conditionally approved the Oregon LNG terminal in Warrenton, authorizing it to export up to 1.25 billion standard cubic feet per day of natural gas for 20 years to non-Free Trade Agreement countries.

ADVERTISEMENT
That means it can export to countries like Ukraine and ones in Eastern Europe. Calls for more exports gained momentum in Capitol Hill due to Russia's energy stranglehold on Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea.

Late Wednesday, the liquefied natural gas export project in Freeport, Texas, became the third export facility to gain complete federal approval. The project already had a green light from the Energy Department to export LNG to non-free trade agreement countries, but the thumbs up from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was the final step.

“This has been a good week for those of us advocating for an expansion of our nation’s natural gas exports,” Murkowski said about the separate decision in a statement on Thursday. “Rising domestic production presents a golden opportunity to become a world leader in energy exports, while still meeting the full demand for gas at home.”

Opponents of more natural gas exports say expediting shipments of the product abroad would increase consumers' electric bills and raise domestic prices of natural gas.

ON TAP FRIDAY I: Denis Sassou-Nguesso, president of the Republic of the Congo, will speak at the National Press Club. He is likely to discuss his country’s plans to partner with Russia for investments in Congo’s oil, agriculture and education sectors.

ON TAP FRIDAY II: EPA officials will wrap up their final day of scheduled hearings over the climate rule Friday. The agency will host its last 11-hour day of public hearings in Pittsburgh.


NEWS BITES:

Check out more testimony from Thursday's hearing:

Pro ... Catholic Bishops from Miami, Fla. and Des Moines, Iowa, provided testimony in an open letter to the EPA this week, urging it to continue with the carbon pollution proposal and act on climate change.

"Too frequently we observe the damaging impacts from climate-related events in the United States and across the globe, particularly on poor and vulnerable communities.” the bishops wrote. "Increasingly limited access to water, reduced crop yields, more widespread disease, more frequent and intense droughts and storms, as well as conflict over declining resources – are all making the lives of the world’s poorest people even more precarious."

Con ... Democratic West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant traveled to Pittsburgh Thursday to urge the EPA to drop its proposal to cut carbon from power plants, saying it would destroy the coal industry that her state depends on.

“Whether this administration chooses to recognize it or not, the fact is: coal powers nearly 40 percent of our electricity in this country. It’s not going anywhere,” she said, according to her prepared remarks. “Trying to squeeze coal out of the energy equation is not only unrealistic, it is dangerous and irresponsible.”

Tennant, currently West Virginia’s secretary of state, asked the administration to instead invest far more money into carbon capture and sequestration than it currently does.

“Studies show the costs of addressing climate change would double without advanced coal technology,” she said.


AROUND THE WEB:

Royal Dutch Shell reported a “robust” second quarter in which profits more than doubled to $5.15 billion, BBC News reports.

Fifty-eight percent of California is now under drought, the largest area in the state since the federal government started keeping records in the 1990s, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Climate change is likely to boost “last-chance” tourism in Alaska, in which people go to see animals and sights that could soon change or disappear, the Juneau Empire reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Thursday's stories...

- Senate bill targets propane shortages
- Shell signals move toward Arctic drilling in 2015
- GOP 'betraying mascot' elephant, animal activists say
- DOE approves second gas export terminal in Oregon
- EPA pushes renewable fuel compliance deadline
- IMF's Lagarde calls for higher energy taxes
- Greens say new developments should sink Keystone
- Groups warn offshore drilling undercuts Obama's climate legacy
- House passes pesticide regulations bill
- Manufacturers: Ozone standards could be most costly regulation ever
- Regulators approve Texas natural gas export project
- Chevron refinery project in Calif. gets city approval
- Panasonic, Tesla to build massive US battery plant
- Manchin drops coal provision from Ex-Im Bank bill

 

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

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill @lbarronlopez @Timothy_Cama