GOP to White House: If you won’t act on natural gas, we will
posted at 4:41 pm on February 4, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Here are three separate but very much related points that President Obama made in his meandering and very much over-hyped State of the Union address the other night: 1) He touted his willingness to use his executive powers (and then some) to “act” where Congress won’t to help the economy; 2) he trumpeted natural gas as “one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back” to his otherwise meager economic ‘recovery’; and 3) he applauded increased exports as a means to help American businesses “create even more jobs.”
And, this is not a perfect storm of reasons to use “your pen and your phone” to do something the executive is actually, seriously supposed to be doing and approve more natural-gas exports, because… er, why?
The United States can only export natural gas (LNG) to countries with whom we already have special free-trade agreements, and at this exact moment, there is a stack of pending applications just sitting in the Department of Energy’s inbox. It is very much within the executive branch’s range of responsibilities to get these things done, and if Obama really wants a “year of action,” why not get to work on an action-item that is basically tailor-made to satisfy several of the goals that Obama himself just highlighted?
The GOP would like to know, and if Obama won’t “act,” then they will. Via The Hill:
House Republican leaders issued a report Tuesday calling on the Obama administration to open the global market for U.S. liquefied natural gas exports (LNG), warning they will act if the Energy Department does not.
Citing economic and geopolitical advantages, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s white paper urges the agency to approve all pending LNG export applications by the end of 2014.
The Energy Department has approved only a handful of applications, and roughly 20 are currently pending, according to Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton. …
“In essence we’re sending a friendly shot across the bow for DOE [Department of Energy] to take it up,” he said. …
“We have people all over the world clamoring for this product,” Whitfield said. “Why would this administration want to be dragging their feet on an issue like this.
Of course, the Obama administration just isn’t going to do anything they don’t want to do — because, you know, bipartisanship is only something that happens when the GOP bends to their will — but allowing for more natural-gas exports makes a lot of sense given their own stated goals. The DOE has approved four export terminals in the past five years, which is a nice start, but every day is a lost opportunity when so many countries are insanely eager to buy our product at a competitive price.