US Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced an updated version of his earlier bill aimed at accelerating federal approvals of LNG export projects. The new measure accounts for the US Department of Energy’s proposal to revise the process for determining whether such projects are in the US national interest, he explained on June 18 (OGJ Online, May 29, 2014).
“Colorado's natural gas has an important role to play in creating jobs and promoting global stability,” said Udall, who is a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee member. “By speeding up [DOE’s] review of pending [LNG] export facilities, my bill would cut red tape and complement the agency's newly announced review process.”
The latest bill, which is co-sponsored by the committee’s chairwoman, Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), and US Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alas.) also provides DOE with sufficient time to consider each application’s environmental and national security implications without delaying the process unnecessarily, Udall said.
Specifically, he said, his latest bill would:
· Require DOE to make a final decision on whether an LNG export application is in the national interest within 45 days of the associated National Environmental Policy Act review being finalized.
· Allow for expedited judicial review if DOE does not make a decision within 45 days.
· Require DOE to report to the public the countries to which the LNG would be exported.
The Industrial Energy Consumers of America quickly expressed opposition to the new bill. “With domestic gas prices forecast to rise over 160% in 10 years, expediting LNG exports beyond what has already been approved by [DOE] is reckless public policy that will drive up the cost of gas and electricity to all consumers and seriously damage manufacturing competitiveness and jobs,” IECA Pres. Paul N. Cicio said on June 19.
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