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Groups urging administration to block exports bill

Over 100 groups are calling on Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to reject proposals in favor of increasing the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG), according to a report by The Hill.

On Monday, Moniz received a letter from environmental and health groups which said he should not support proposed legislation by a Senate Republican that would hasten the approval of permits for companies hoping to ship natural gas internationally. The legislation being condemned by the groups was introduced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). In November, Hoeven stated that he was working with Moniz on the bill’s language to gain the secretary’s support.

Hoeven said, “I talked to the secretary of energy, and he has some things he’d like us to incorporate, and then he’s willing to support the bill.” The groups opposing the legislation include Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Public Citizen. According to The Hill, the letter sent to Moniz states, “Even with modifications, this bill – and the other similar bills that various congressmen have put forward – would undermine the Department of Energy’s ability to fully assess the environmental and public health impacts of LNG … Endorsement of such a bill would directly contradict President Obama’s pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

As reported by The Hill, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Kate DeAngelis said supporting the bill would be telling the energy industry that the Obama administration supports further investments, fracking operations and increased greenhouse gas emissions. DeAngelis said, “LNG could prove worse for the climate than coal, yet all signs indicate that the Obama administration is continuing to fully embrace it.”

After the annexation of Crimea and with Russia exerting pressure on Ukraine by cutting gas supplies, the calls for allowing exports increased. Ukraine’s dependence on Russian gas exports prompted U.S. policymakers to call for quickening the approval of export facilities and of exports, both of which the Energy Department has authority over. The department is charged with deciding if it is in the nation’s best interest to allow LNG export facilities to ship gas to non-free trade agreement countries.

To read the original report, click here.

In related news, Falling LNG Imports, America’s LNG Exports Opportunity.

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