U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Energy Committee and Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus, today welcomed the announcement by the Department of Energy that it will shift the permitting process for natural gas export facilities to focus only on final - not conditional - commitments, will continue to make individual national interest determinations on case-by-case basis, and will undertake several new or updated studies on the economic and climate change implications of increased natural gas production and potential exports.
"Today's announcement is good news for families and businesses that rely on affordable natural gas," said Stabenow. "American manufacturers have created more than 600,000 jobs since 2010, and we can't afford to risk American jobs, economic growth, and our long-term energy independence by rushing new export approvals through. The Department of Energy listened to my concerns about unlimited, aggressive natural gas exports and the steps announced today will allow it to proceed in a thorough and thoughtful manner, as it should with such a vitally important American resource."
In part because of low natural gas prices, American manufacturers have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the last few years. Unlimited, aggressive exports of natural gas could hurt America's goal of achieving energy independence, raise prices for families and manufacturers, and threaten American jobs. The new and updated studies announced today will present the Department of Energy and other stakeholders with clearer information about the economic impacts of increased natural gas production and potential exports.
Earlier this month, Sen. Stabenow led a bipartisan group of 22 Senators in urging President Obama to consider the impact of large-scale natural gas exports on American manufacturers and families that rely on affordable natural gas. The letter cited a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group that concluded that affordable natural gas prices could lead to 5 million more manufacturing jobs by 2020.
Another study found that using natural gas to increase domestic manufacturing output is twice as valuable to our overall economy and creates eight times as many jobs as sending this important American resource overseas.
Based on contracts currently in place and other factors, Asian nations would be the primary beneficiaries from any increase in natural gas exports. Natural gas prices in Asia are currently three to four times higher than those in the United States, and would likely command a large portion of the export market.