U.S. LNG exports sparks debate

Aug. 8, 2013 at 7:59 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A decision to allow more exports of liquefied natural gas from U.S. ports sparked concern from an environmental group, though a lawmaker celebrated the move.

The Department of Energy said Wednesday it authorized the export of LNG from a terminal in Louisiana for countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the United States, such as Japan.

Asian economies have started taking on more natural gas as their energy demands grow. Japan, in particularly, increased its appetite for LNG to make up for the energy shortage brought by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Sierra Club campaigner Deb Nardone said she was disappointed with the decision. She said it means energy companies would expand their hydraulic fracturing campaigns to the detriment of the environment.

"Exporting LNG to foreign buyers will lock us into decades-long contracts, which in turn will lead to more drilling -- and that means more fracking, more air and water pollution, and more climate fueled weather disasters," she said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said, however, it would give the United States a competitive edge on the global market.

"Countries like Qatar and Malaysia are already exporting LNG and there are projects under construction around the world that are competing for market share with American gas supplies," she said in a statement.

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