Bipartisan Senate group presses Energy Dept. to approve gas exports

Moniz has said he plans to make more decisions this year on the pile of roughly 20 applications to export liquefied natural gas to nations that lack formal free trade deals with the U.S. Those applications receive, under federal law, more scrutiny from regulators.

The letter notes that the lawmakers have “heard” that the DOE plans to consider the applications at six to eight week intervals, which would mean the process would stretch out for the next two years.

“By then, the private financing and market opportunities making these projects attractive may have dissipated, and foreign customers will be forced to turn to other suppliers to secure their energy needs,” the letter states.

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“[W]e are concerned that the timeline for considering these applications may jeopardize our ability to retain a competitive position against other natural gas exporting nations who are also working diligently to export LNG,” it states.

The lawmakers ask Moniz to consider evaluating multiple applications at once, and also weigh giving priority to projects that “have clearly established they are commercially viable.”

In mid-May, before Moniz arrived, the department approved its second industry application to export gas to nations that lack a trade deal with the U.S. It was the first such approval since 2011.

Here’s the list of other lawmakers who signed the letter:

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