Senate bill would fast-track ‘small-scale’ natural gas exports

Senate bill would fast-track ‘small-scale’ natural gas exports
© Greg Nash

A pair of Republican senators is proposing to fast-track the approval process for companies wishing to export relatively small-scale volumes of liquefied natural gas.

Under the bill from Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyObstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills Key House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills GOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements MORE (R-La.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (R-Fla.), applications to export up to 51.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to nearly any country would get Energy Department approval “without modification or delay.”

Currently, all natural gas exports from the contiguous United States must be extensively reviewed and certified by the Energy Department as being in the “public interest” before they can proceed.

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“This bill promotes the growth of American natural gas, creating well-paying jobs with good benefits for hardworking families in Louisiana,” Cassidy said in a statement.

“The faster approval of small-scale natural gas shipments will create American jobs, improve Caribbean energy security and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” he continued.

“Expedited approval of small-scale natural gas exports would strengthen an emerging sector of Florida’s economy,” said Rubio.

The bill comes as the Trump administration is working on multiple fronts to promote the production and use of fossil fuels and other domestic energy sources under an “energy dominance” banner.

The legislation mirrors a regulation the Energy Department proposed in September that would similarly expedite approvals for small-scale exports.

Gas demand is growing rapidly in the Caribbean and Latin America, and Republicans and the Trump administration see an opportunity for the United States to take advantage of it.