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Energy & Environment

Congress Tries To Strike A Balance On LNG Exports

Energy producers want to expand foreign sales, but industrial consumers are wary.



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U.S. Democratic Congressman Gene Green

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has passed a bill to speed up the permitting process for facilities to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG. The committee passed the bill on a vote of 33-18, with bipartisan support. The measure now moves to the floor of the House for a vote of the full chamber.

Texas energy companies tend to support expanding LNG sales overseas, where natural gas commands higher prices. But large consumers have fought such efforts, arguing that boosting exports would drive up the cost of gas in the U.S. Democratic Congressman Gene Green’s district puts him squarely in the midst of the controversy.

“I have an expanding chemical industry in East Harris County — that’s jobs in our community — and I also like to have reasonable priced natural gas providing electricity for our homes. But I also know that we need to keep our producers in business, and so I use my Blue Bell technique. Blue Bell’s ice cream, we’re so proud of it in Texas, ‘We eat all we can and sell the rest?’ With natural gas, I want us to use all we can and sell the rest.”

There are fifteen proposed LNG export facilities awaiting permits from the Department of Energy. Under an amendment to the bill proposed by Congressman Green, the Energy Department would have to approve or deny a permit within ninety days of the close of the public comment period.

Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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