Feds OK 2nd Liquefied Natural Gas Export Facility; Industry Leaders, GOP Want Approval of Others

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Byline: Ben Wolfgang, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In a key development that will help the U.S. export its vast energy resources, the Obama administration last week approved an application for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Texas.

The decision is part of a closely watched process in which the federal government must determine whether such exports are in the economic interest of the nation. Friday's approval marks the second LNG export project approved under this White House, the other being in Louisiana.

At least 19 similar LNG export applications are under review, including a plan by energy giant Dominion to move fuel from Cove Point in Lusby, Md.

Oil and gas industry leaders and congressional Republicans are calling for quick action by the Energy Department, arguing that more exports mean more American jobs.

It remains unclear when these decisions will be made. Given the obvious benefits America stands to gain from these export opportunities, I hope [the Energy Department] will move forward with the review process and provide greater clarity on the schedule, said Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Less than a decade ago, many analysts projected that the U.S. would need to import natural gas in order to meet demand. Thanks to technological breakthroughs, especially advances in the drilling technique known as fracking, that equation has been flipped, and the nation is now poised to become a leading exporter of natural gas.

Federal law allows companies to export LNG to countries with which the U.S. has a free-trade agreement. Shipments to countries without such a deal, however, undergo intense scrutiny by the federal government and must be approved on a case-by-case basis. …