According to govtrack.us, U.S. Representative Cory Gardner passed his H.R. 6 bill, also known as the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, through the House on June 25, 2014. The bill passed on a count of 266-150, with 46 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.
The first draft of H.R. 6 was designed to allow the Department of Energy (DOE) to expand the US’s export capabilities to World Trade Organization (WTO) countries such as Ukraine, India and Japan. It was introduced on March 6, 2014 – one day after S. 2083, a similar bill, was introduced to the Senate by Senator Mark Udall.
Gardner and Udall will be competing against each other for Udall’s senate seat in November, and as Fox 31 Denver said, “With Colorado [being] a big producer of natural gas…Udall and Gardner have both been bending over backwards to demonstrate leadership on this issue.”
H.R. 6 took on a stronger purpose when it was edited on June 19 – again, just one day after Udall introduced the S. 2494, another export bill. Gardner’s revised H.R. 6 put a time limit of 90 days on the DOE’s decision-making process for LNG exports.
Previously, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had the ability to approve LNG import and export facilities within the U.S. However, businesses that were approved by the FERC had no guarantee of hearing from the DOE, since there was no system of approval in place.
H.R. 6 seeks to remedy the DOE’s approval process by setting a timeline, as does the S. 2494. Udall’s S. 2494 set the time limit for the DOE as 45 days. Gardner edited his House bill again on June 23, putting the limit at 30 days.
Having passed the House on June 25, H.R. 6 is now headed to the Senate for approval.
In a debate prior to the voting process, Representative Gardner said, “The economic impacts alone make natural gas exports a winning policy.” When LNG exports start, possibly as early as 2015, demand for U.S. LNG is expected to be particularly strong in Asia and Europe.
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