U. S. House Passes Liquid Natural Gas Bill

The bill, “Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act,” would limit the president’s influence on liquid natural gas exports by giving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the “exclusive authority” to approve LNG projects. The Oklahoma delegation is 100 percent behind it.

Monday, February 19th 2024, 5:31 pm



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A bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives sent President Biden a message last week by passing legislation intended to override his recent decision to pause the growth of the nation's liquid natural gas (LNG) exports.

The bill, “Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act,” would limit the president’s influence on liquid natural gas exports by giving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the “exclusive authority” to approve LNG projects. The Oklahoma delegation is 100 percent behind it.

"Sadly, this is just the latest attack on domestic energy production," said Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK5) during a floor speech last Thursday.

That's how Congresswoman Bice and many Oklahomans see President Biden's decision last month to put a temporary hold on the consideration of any pending or new LNG export permits until the Department of Energy completes an assessment on future LNG demand and the impact of increased exports on the climate.

However, critics say that the practical impact is that this will hurt the ability of U.S. exporters to provide Europe and other trading partners with the energy resources they need.

"These exports are critical for our European allies, who are still dealing with the fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine," Bice continued. "We’ve seen what can happen when there is an insufficient supply of LNG globally -- energy prices rise and the coal-powered plants turn back on."

In a statement following Thursday's 224-200 vote, Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK4) said Biden's permitting pause “will increase already skyrocketing energy costs...and, at the same time, push our allies directly into the hands of Russia, Iran, and Communist China to keep their lights on and heat their homes.”

Administration officials say these allegations are an overreaction and simply not true.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told an interviewer that the 'pause' will last just a few months. In the meantime, she said, America's new status as the global leader in LNG exports won't be challenged because new LNG projects that are projected to double current U.S. exports are under construction and not affected by the pause.

Granholm says the administration is "acting as we are required to by law, to assess what is in the public interest." She says there is absolutely no threat to global energy secretary, especially "given how much we have already authorized."

But Republicans see the timing of the pause as suspect and see this being simply a political decision to appease progressive Democrats while potentially causing energy prices to rise and people to lose jobs.

"He has weaponized the permitting process and caved to environmental groups that seek to end fossil fuels," said Bice.

There is a companion bill sponsored by South Carolina Senator Tim Scott in the Senate, and it does have some potential Democratic support. Nevertheless, it faces tall odds of becoming law.

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