Greens seek ban on natural gas exports

Greens seek ban on natural gas exports

Three environmental groups formally petitioned the Obama administration to immediately ban all exports of natural gas.

The request challenges the recent tenfold increase in exports of natural gas, mainly as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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That’s been spurred largely by unconventional drilling techniques such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which have increased domestic gas supplies exponentially, to the dismay of green groups.

“Exporting natural gas worsens global warming, harms local communities, raises domestic energy prices and benefits only multinational fossil fuel corporations,” Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said of the petition his group filed with Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.

“If the Obama administration’s really serious about addressing the climate crisis, it has to rein in the gluttonous natural gas industry,” he said in a statement.

“The Obama administration needs to comply with the law and not export a fuel that has higher carbon emissions than coal,” said Ben Schreiber, climate and energy program director at Friends of the Earth.

The formal petition to the Department of Commerce could lead to a lawsuit if the agency does not act in a way that the groups desire.

LNG exports have been the subject of bipartisan praise in recent years as a way to compete with other global energy giants, such as Russia, and provide United States allies with an alternative source.

Some lawmakers have demanded that the Obama administration take steps to make it easier to export LNG, and last year, the Energy Department streamlined its process for approving export applications.