January 27, 2016
“It is essential that we create as much energy as possible here at home – and it is essential that we be able to export American energy to our allies, as well.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor highlighting the need to speed up exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the United States.
Sen. Barrasso and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) authored the provisions included in S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act – which the Senate is presently debating – that would expedite the permitting process for LNG exports.
Transcript of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I want to thank the distinguished chairman of the Energy Committee.
“She does a remarkable job and has brought many people together on this bipartisan piece of legislation, which passed the committee 18 to 4.
“And people are energetic about this energy bill, because it is such a critically important thing for our communities and our economy.
“And so I come to the floor today as the Senate is discussing this important energy legislation because energy is one of those areas where we should actually all be able to agree on, in terms of the basic idea.
“The basic idea and my goal for this energy bill is that we make energy in America as clean as we can, as fast as we can, and do it in ways that don’t raise costs on American families.
“I think that most of us would consider this to be a worthy, commonsense goal.
“That’s why the energy bill before the Senate today is so important – and why it has such broad, bipartisan support.
“As I said, the bill passed the committee by a vote of 18 to 4.
“And this is a bill that actually takes concrete steps to help our country produce the energy that we need.
“I think one of the good ideas in this bill is a provision to speed up permitting for exportation of liquefied natural gas.
“Six Democrats have co-sponsored this language on LNG exports as a separate piece of legislation, which is now incorporated into this energy bill.
“That’s because senators from both sides of the aisle recognize the importance of natural gas to our economy, as well as to our national security.
“America has the world’s largest supply in terms of natural gas, in terms of what we are able to produce today.
“We also have the resources to be a major exporter of this clean and versatile fuel.
“It’s estimated that liquefied natural gas exports can contribute up to $74 billion to America’s gross domestic product by the year 2035.
“All we need is for Washington to give producers some regulatory certainty – certainty that is not there today.
“To liquefy and to export natural gas requires special production and special export terminals.
“And the Department of Energy has been very slow under President Obama, and very unpredictable, about approving these projects.
“Now, the energy bill would expedite the permit process for LNG exports to countries around the world, countries that we do not have free trade agreements with right now between those countries and the United States.
“So it opens it up to new markets, new customers, people who are our friends and allies who want to buy a product that we have right here for sale.
“This legislation would require the Energy Secretary to make a final decision on an export application within 45 days after the environmental review process is completed.
“It would also provide for expedited judicial review of legal challenges to the LNG export projects, because things can get tangled up in legal challenges that can go on for months and years.
“Finally, the bill requires that exporters publicly disclose the countries to which the LNG is delivered, so the American people know who we’re selling to.
“Now, this legislation doesn’t force the administration to approve the projects.
“It doesn’t shut down the environmental reviews – it doesn’t take away anybody’s right to voice their opposition.
“It just says that the Obama administration should do its job in an accountable, timely, and predictable way.
“Now, this legislation will help create jobs.
“It would help to reduce our trade deficit – which is something that President Obama has said is a priority of his.
“It would also help the security of America and our allies – now, that’s something that should be a priority for all of us in this body.
“Speeding up American exports of liquefied natural gas will give our allies an alternative for where they can get the energy they need.
“It will help our allies reduce their dependence on gas from hostile places, many of whom are getting it right now from Russia.
“Remember, Russia invaded Ukraine largely to get control of the gas pipelines there.
“Now Iran wants to step up its natural gas business as well.
“The Iranians had been working on a liquefied natural gas export plant that is almost complete.
“Construction had stalled a few years ago because of the economic sanctions against Iran.
“Well, now that the administration has lifted the sanctions, Iran can start up construction again.
“The managing director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company says that it could start shipping liquefied natural gas to Europe in two years.
“That was in an article in the Wall Street Journal today, Mr. President, today.
“Here’s the headline: ‘Iran Seeks Ways To Ship Out Gas As Sanctions Ease.’
“Here it is, today.
“This is incredibly timely what we’re discussing here on the floor of the United States Senate.
“When you read through the article, it says that ‘European companies are promising billions in new deals in Iran as the Iranian President Rouhani visits Europe this week to revive trade and political ties.’
“So Iran is on the move.
“The Obama administration, as of right now, is shackling American natural gas – shackling production, shackling the export.
“At the same time the president, through his agreement with Iran, is enabling Iran to move forward seeking ways to ship out gas as sanctions ease.
“If our allies are dependent on gas from Russia, or Iran, or from both, how does that make the world a safer place?
“This administration has been dragging its feet on approving liquefied natural gas exports.
“It’s blocked North American energy projects in the past, like the Keystone XL pipeline that would have created thousands of jobs.
“Then, earlier this month, the Secretary of the Interior halted all new leases on mining coal on federal land.
“This action by the administration, it is alarming, it’s drastic, and it is destructive.
“Forty percent of all coal production in the United States comes from federal land.
“The Interior Secretary wants that coal to stay in the ground – wants it to become a stranded asset.
“With this new rule, she took one more step toward wiping out the jobs of thousands of Americans – and then she staged a press conference to brag about it.
“If that weren’t bad enough, last week the administration announced new restrictions on oil and gas operations on federal land and on Indian land.
“The unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats of the Obama administration have been relentlessly attacking American energy producers with new rules, new regulations, hurting our economy.
“They are costing American workers and families billions of dollars – and they will do great damage to American energy reliability.
“And reliability is key, Mr. President.
“We need a different approach.
“It is essential that we create as much energy as possible here at home – and it is essential that we be able to export American energy to our allies, as well.
“People who want to get it from us.
“That’s why energy is called the master resource, and it’s why this energy bill is so important.
“This legislation is a good start toward making sure that America has the energy we need to keep our economy growing.
“Now, there are things that we can do to improve this legislation.
“We can use this bill to protect Americans from President Obama’s reckless attempt to end coal leases on federal lands.
“We can also make sure that the Obama administration stops its unwise new rule on natural gas and oil operations.
“We can actually capture more energy while we reduce waste and emissions from this kind of oil and gas production.
“I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation that’s going to expedite the permitting process of the natural-gas-gathering lines on federal and Indian land.
“These are pipelines that collect unprocessed natural gas from oil and gas wells, ship it to a processing plant, and then on to interstate pipelines.
“Today a lot of that gas is flared off right at the well.
“You can see these at the well – flames.
“One of the reasons that’s happening is because the Obama administration has been so slow about granting the permits for the natural-gas-gathering lines on federal land.
“People want to build them, they want to use this natural gas, the president opposes the flaring – more gathering lines would mean less flaring.
“It’s good for energy producers, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for taxpayers.
“Mr. President, we need the energy.
“Keeping it in the ground is not the answer.
“The answer is making energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without raising costs on American families.
“I believe that’s a better approach.
“A bipartisan group of members of this body know that it’s a better answer.
“It’s time for the Obama administration to join us.”