Bill to Streamline US LNG Export Permits Draws Fire

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The White House is pushing back on a House Republican proposal to remove a major step in the approval process for exporting US LNG.

H.R. 1130, also called the Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act, would end the requirement for the Department of Energy (DOE) to license LNG exports to countries with which the US does not have a free-trade agreement (FTA).

Instead, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — which currently has authority over LNG terminal construction — would have sole jurisdiction.

“This would undermine the ability of the United States to ensure that export of a critical and strategic resource is consistent with our economic, energy security, foreign policy and environmental interests,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said in a statement Monday.

OMB noted that under the Natural Gas Act, the DOE is mandated to ensure that non-FTA exports are in the public interest. Among other things, the agency analyzes whether a license would unduly burden US consumers by driving up the domestic price of natural gas.

H.R. 1130 "would strip vital consumer, domestic manufacturing, and energy security safeguards, and would eliminate an important check that export to non-FTA countries will be consistent with US law and policy," OMB said.

'Cutting Red Tape'

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), has passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was being marked up Monday afternoon by the House Rules Committee. Johnson said the bill is meant to streamline the LNG permitting process by “cutting the red tape.”

It comes after the DOE in April rejected Energy Transfer's request for a license extension for its Lake Charles LNG export project in Louisiana, angering the company and raising concerns among some Republicans about over-regulation.

Energy Transfer has since decided to reapply and asked the DOE for expedited approval.

Policy and Regulation, LNG Projects, LNG Trade
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