January 6, 2015
Bipartisan bill will reduce permitting delays, help create jobs, reduce trade deficit, and enhance U.S. national security.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the “LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act.” The bipartisan legislation will speed up the approval process for exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries which do not have free trade agreements with the United States. It specifically requires the Secretary of Energy to make a decision on any LNG export application within 45 days after the environmental review document for the project is published.
“LNG exports will create jobs across the country, reduce our nation’s trade deficit, and strengthen the energy security of key U.S. allies who are eager to buy America’s natural gas,” said Barrasso. “Right now, LNG exports are being stalled by Washington red tape and permitting delays. Our bipartisan bill fixes this by creating clear deadlines that force Washington to make timely decisions on these critical energy permits. This is a win-win for our economy and America’s national security interests.”
"Natural gas has significant environmental benefits compared to other fossil fuels, and can reduce global carbon and toxic air pollution,” said Heinrich. “Improving the process for reviewing permits to export U.S. natural gas to our allies would create jobs in states like New Mexico because we’re rich in the resource. If the U.S. does not aggressively market LNG abroad, many of these countries may have no choice but to purchase energy from Russia or other nations that are not aligned with our own national interests.”
In addition to Barrasso and Heinrich, Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are original cosponsors of the “LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act.”
Prior to approving applications to export natural gas to countries which do not have free trade agreements with the United States, the Secretary of Energy must make a public interest determination which includes a public comment period. This process is often plagued by long delays that undermine the ability of American businesses to compete for overseas markets.
The “LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act” would:
• require the Secretary of Energy to issue a final decision on an application to export LNG to countries which do not have free trade agreements with the United States within 45 days from the time the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the U.S. Maritime Administration publishes the environmental review document for the project.
In addition, the bill would:
• provide an applicant with expedited judicial review (in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit or the circuit in which the export project will be located) if the Secretary fails to act within 45 days or if the project is subject to a legal challenge; and
• require LNG exporters to disclose the country or countries to which LNG has been delivered and require the Secretary to make this information available to the public.