U.S. lawmakers stand behind LNG exports

Feb. 22, 2013 at 6:47 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of senators from energy-rich and coastal states said they want the U.S. government to get behind exports of liquefied natural gas.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy calling for LNG exports. They say such exports are a clear public interest.

"Expanding market access to producers will not only result in a wealth transfer from foreign countries to U.S. households but it will also encourage greater exploration and production activity," the letter says. "This will grow the economy and create jobs."

NERA Economic Consulting, in a report last year under a commission from the Energy Department, said potential exports of LNG could have "net economic benefits" for the United States but not affect the country's overall employment picture.

The lawmakers said the abundance of natural gas in the United States trumped any of the questions over the validity of the NERA report.

"Our abundance of natural gas is a game changer for our country that is bringing us to the verge of energy independence," U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in a statement.

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