GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas recently reintroduced a bill to increase free trade and accelerate the federal approval process for exporting liquified natural gas (LNG).
The bill arrives at a time when countries in Europe, which have been negatively affected by Russia’s unprovoked war it’s waging against Ukraine, are swiftly looking for new sources of reliable, clean energy.
Ranking member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Cruz has served as a leader of congressional efforts to force the Biden administration to ramp up expedited permitting for LNG exports. In 2021, Cruz introduced the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act.
The moves and other actions have made a meaningful impact on increasing U.S. exports across the globe while helping Europe during its ongoing energy crisis.
“Record liquefied natural gas exports from the United States helped soften the blow to Europe from sharply lower Russian pipelined natural gas supplies in 2022 and will remain a vital energy source for the continent in 2023,” according to Reuters.
Besides supporting and creating thousands of jobs domestically, the legislation aims to help to strengthen the United States’ economic and strategic relationships with allies.
The U.S. has already become the top supplier of LNG to Europe. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas prices have doubled in the past two years as exports rose to $35 billion last year from $8.3 billion in 2021.
New bill amends the Natural Gas Act
Cruz’s new bill explicitly amends the Natural Gas Act to expedite non-free-trade agreement export permits, which often take several years.
It means requests to export LNG to countries that are non-free-trade are treated similarly to free-trade countries or secure the same accelerated approval process.
The legislation keeps current law for nations that are restricted.
Any country subject to trade restrictions or sanctions is expressly excluded, and Congress or the president can block any nation from sped-up approval.
Senator Cruz was joined Thursday by co-sponsors Senators Republican John Kennedy of Louisiana, Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, and Kevin Cramer, also a Republican of North Dakota.
“Thanks to the United States’ innovation and use of clean natural gas, America leads the world in reducing carbon emissions,” said Cruz in a statement.
“By exporting U.S. LNG, the United States creates thousands of jobs at home, reduces global emissions, and promotes energy independence from those who use it as a weapon to exert control over importing countries.”
Senator Cruz has steadily worked to ensure the Biden administration authorized LNG export permits. He held up four nominees for the Department of Energy until the administration approved two exports for Sempra Energy, allowing for the first significant West Coast/Pacific LNG export facility taking America’s natural gas from Texas and Western states, and exporting it by pipeline to Mexico, then by ship directly to Asia, in December.