Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the "Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013 (S.192)." The bipartisan legislation gives North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member nations, Japan, and others the same preferential treatment as our free trade partners with respect to exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG).
"I support LNG exports to countries whether or not they have a free trade agreement with the United States. Increased LNG exports will create good paying jobs and open markets for Wyoming's natural gas. This will expand economic opportunities across America and help lower our nation's trade deficit. Our bill will also promote the energy security of key U.S. allies by helping reduce their dependence on oil and gas from countries, such as Russia and Iran." - U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
"In addition to being a key strategic ally for our nation, Japan has been Alaska's number one trading partner for decades. When I talk to members of the Japanese parliament or officials from Japanese utilities, concern for the security of their natural gas supply always comes up. The U.S. and Alaska have plenty of natural gas to sell to Japan and our NATO allies, and I can't think of a better place to sell it than to our strategic and economic partners." - U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK)
"I am proud to work with my colleagues on this legislation that seeks to expedite the process for companies wishing to export liquefied natural gas to our friends and allies. Improving this process will yield important strategic opportunities to enhance our national security interests while continuing to grow our economy at home." - U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
"Allowing our strong allies like NATO and Japan to have access to Oklahoma's abundant natural gas improves our foreign policy posture and encourages domestic energy expansion. We are truly within a generation of domestic energy independence, and to accomplish this we need to ensure that our energy producers have sufficient market access. This bill will encourage producers to develop all discoverable resources, which will keep job growth strong and energy prices low for Oklahomans." - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
In addition to Barrasso, Begich, Cornyn and Inhofe, Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-UT), and David Vitter (R-LA) are original cosponsors of the "Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013."
Under current law, the Secretary of Energy must approve applications to export natural gas to countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement if that agreement requires national treatment for trade in natural gas.
Prior to approving applications to export natural gas to countries which do not have a free trade agreement with the United States, the Secretary of Energy must make a public interest determination which includes a public comment period.
The "Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013" amends Federal law by requiring the Secretary of Energy to approve exports of natural gas to NATO allies and Japan.
The Act would also require the Secretary of Energy to approve exports of natural gas to any other country if the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, finds that exports of natural gas to that country would promote the national security interests of the United States.
For years, Russia has used its vast natural gas resources as political leverage against many of our NATO allies, especially those in eastern Europe. This practice was highlighted by Senator Lugar's (R-IN) Foreign Relations Committee-Minority Staff Report entitled, "Energy and Security from the Caspian to Europe" (December 12, 2012).
By making it easier to export LNG, the bill would help increase energy security among U.S. allies and help reduce their need to purchase oil and gas from countries such as Russia and Iran.