Think tank warns against U.S. energy 'hoarding'

Feb. 7, 2014 at 7:59 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Hoarding U.S. energy resources leaves the country less secure than if it moves into the global market, the Center for a New American Security finds.

U.S. policymakers are mulling the prospects for more oil and natural gas exports. CNAS published a 44-page report Thursday that said the issue is "more complex" than some policymakers assert.

"Hoarding energy at home, neglecting bilateral relationships with major global energy players and forfeiting economic opportunities to export energy would leave the United States less secure," the report states. "Moreover, policymakers would then be unable to use energy as a tool of economic statecraft to coerce or benefit other countries."

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to President Obama in December saying domestic energy reserves should be kept in the U.S. market to keep consumers prices low.

"As the United States imports less energy, some policy leaders hope that a push toward energy isolationism will insulate the country from instability in the global energy market," the CNAS report said. "Such hopes are unfounded."

The federal government needs to sign off on natural gas exports for countries that don't have a free-trade agreement with the United States. Crude oil exports are restricted by legislation enacted in the wake of the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s.

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