“LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act” set to expedite LNG exports

Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced a bipartisan bill to Congress this week that will help to speed up approval times for liquid natural gas (LNG) exports to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the U.S.

The legislation specifically requires the Secretary of Energy to make a decision on any LNG export application within 45 days after the environmental review document for the project is published by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), according to the senators’ websites. The bill would also give applicants who do not receive a decision from the Secretary of Energy within 45 days expedited judicial review, and require LNG exporters to disclose the country or countries to which LNG has been delivered to the public.

The senators say benefits include job creation, reduction to the U.S. deficit and greater energy security for U.S. allies. “Improving the process for reviewing permits to export U.S. natural gas to our allies would create jobs in states like New Mexico because we’re rich in the resource,” said Senator Heinrich. His coauthor, Senator Barrasso, said, “LNG exports will strengthen the energy security of key U.S. allies who are eager to buy America’s natural gas.”

Other sponsors for the bill include senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and John Hoeven (R-ND).

Senator Hoeven in November planned to put a similar piece of legislation before Congress, but decided to hold off until this most recent session of Congress in order to gain more support. The major difference between the new bill and Hoeven’s is that the new legislation will require the Department of Energy (DOE) to make its decision 45 days after the FERC’s decision. Hoeven’s bill called for the DOE to make a decision within 45 days of a company’s completing the pre-filing process at the FERC, a process that can take up to six months.

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