WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said the White House was wrong not to capitalize on the natural gas boom by pushing for liquefied natural gas exports.
Inhofe, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called on U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to stand behind a push for exports of LNG. He said the United States could capitalize on natural gas production gains by getting more reserves to the foreign market.
"Approving existing pending permits to export LNG not only addresses the potential for oversupply, but provides a valuable export product," Inhofe said in a letter to Chu.
A report commissioned last year by the Energy Department said LNG exports would have a net economic benefit for the United States but not affect the country's overall employment picture.
Groups opposing hydraulic fracturing of shale natural gas deposits in the United States say that allowing LNG exports could lead to environmental problems. Opponents have filed various lawsuits in protest of LNG export plans.
Trade group American Petroleum Institute stated last week that LNG exports would be "a win for the U.S. economy."
OpenSecrets.org, a website compiling campaign contributions, said Inhofe, over his career, has received the bulk of his support from the oil and natural gas industry.