“We strongly urge you to avoid any delays in the approval process for pending projects and ask for renewed urgency in completing the macroeconomic study,” the group of 16 House representatives from western states wrote in the letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The group is led by Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado and Democrat Jim Matheson of Utah. Lawmakers from Arizona, California, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming also signed the letter.
The call to accelerate approval for LNG exports comes a week after the DoE delayed until the end of the year the release of the long-awaited LNG report, likely pushing it beyond the presidential election in November. The report was originally due out in May.
The letter sent late on Monday is the second such plea to Chu from a bipartisan group of US lawmakers in as many months. In August, a group of 34 Republicans and 10 Democrats also called for “a renewed sense of urgency to the approval process”, warning that any delay could have “a severe impact” on natural gas production.
On Monday, the group of 16 said speedy approval for proposed LNG-export projects would benefit – and protect – the US economy.
“Creating more opportunities to sell natural gas into global markets and access overseas customers could help the goals of increasing natural gas use and smooth out historical boom-bust cycles,” the letter said.
“Realising sustainable natural gas prices will continue to stimulate the resurgence of US manufacturing, power generation, chemical and agricultural sectors, as well as continue to keep costs low to heat our homes and fuel our nation’s transportation needs.”
The DoE has approved one proposed LNG project so far, giving the thumbs up earlier this year to Cheniere Energy to go ahead with its proposed 2.2 billion cubic-feet-per-day Sabine Pass export terminal.
There are another 17 projects that are listed as being “under DoE review”, including the 2.8 Bcf-per-day Gulf Coast LNG Export project and ExxonMobil/Qatar Petroleum’s 2.6 Bcf-per-day Golden Pass project.
Click here to see a copy of the letter.