In the Way of Progress

Thanks to the oil and natural gas development occurring beneath our feet across Eastern and Southeastern Ohio – and throughout the United States – America finds itself on the precipice of an energy renaissance.  In fact, the United States is now the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and some experts estimate that Ohio may have more accessible natural gas reserves than all of Saudi Arabia.  We’ve become so good at harnessing and producing natural gas that we have an abundance of this vital energy source that we can ship to our allies across the globe – if only the Department of Energy (DOE) would get out of the way.

To date, the DOE has only issued a final decision on 5 of the 38 applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-Free Trade Agreement countries – this is unacceptable, and the Administration’s red tape continues to bog down progress.  My legislation, H.R. 351, the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act, would expedite the approval process on export applications by placing a 30 day deadline – following conclusion of the NEPA environmental review – for DOE to issue a final ruling.  Simply streamlining the approval process for these export permits offers significant economic benefits here at home and geopolitical benefits across the globe.  An increase in natural gas exports would also provide increased tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments.

Additionally, some estimates suggest that by 2018, approximately 45,000 unemployed Americans could be put back to work because of the construction associated with LNG export projects.  Furthermore, opening up new markets for America to export our natural gas, and increasing our domestic energy production, would provide a spark for America’s manufacturing renaissance.  Various studies have shown that LNG exports could create hundreds of thousands of jobs within the manufacturing sector.

Not only would an increase in LNG exports positively impact the American economy and consumers, but it offers significant geopolitical benefits as well.  The United States can curb the influence of rogue countries like Russia and Iran who use their natural gas reserves as leverage against our allies across the world.  Simply increasing our LNG exports will provide our allies across the globe with a reliable energy trading partner.

H.R. 351 is a common-sense bipartisan bill that would modernize and provide certainty to DOE’s antiquated export permit approval process.  The federal government cannot continue to stand in the way of progress.  We must show the hardworking American taxpayers, and our allies across the globe, that we are serious in delivering the full benefits of our natural energy abundance.

— Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)

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