New York Times convinced of LNG benefits

Dec. 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM

NEW YORK, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- An editorial in The New York Times said it's been "persuaded" by a U.S. report touting the economic benefits of U.S. liquefied natural gas exports.

NERA Economic Consulting this month produced a 212-page report under a commission from the U.S. Department of Energy. The report stated that potential exports of liquefied natural gas from the United States could have "net economic benefits" for the country.

The New York Times, in a Sunday editorial, said exporting natural gas was a controversial issue.

"But we are persuaded by the report's core finding that the benefits of selling gas to other countries would more than offset the modestly negative impact of higher prices for domestic users of the fuel," the editorial states.

The NERA report warned that U.S. consumers may pay more as a result of the emerging gas boom, however.

Environmental groups have expressed concern over potential LNG exports because it may lead to more hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting natural gas. Food and Water Watch said the industry's rhetoric on the benefits of shale gas is "a ruse." The Sierra Club during the summer issued a formal protest to the U.S. government over plans for an LNG terminal in Louisiana.

The Times, however, said many export concerns would be offset because trade partners like China, Germany, India and Japan would have more access to cleaner-burning natural gas.

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