The U.S. Energy Department gave its consent to the Jordan Cove Energy project in Coos Bay, Ore., to export domestically produced liquified natural gas to countries that don’t have a free-trade agreement with the United States.
American Petroleum President Jack Gerard said the LNG decision gives foreign energy markets an added layer of energy security.
"We urge the administration to continue making U.S. exports a priority," he said in a statement.
There are more than 20 applications pending for non-FTA exports of LNG. The federal government needs to weigh such projects against the public's interest before giving its consent.
Environmental groups are critical of LNG exports, saying it will lead to more hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling practice dubbed fracking.
Nathan Matthews, an attorney with the Sierra Club, said in a statement Monday the Oregon decision was deeply disappointing.
"LNG export is nothing by a giveaway to the dirty fuel industry, at the expense of everyday Americans," he said.
Subject to final regulatory approval, the Oregon facility is authorized to export as much as 800 million cubic feet of LNG per day for a period of 20 years.