WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich's (D-N.M.) delivered an opening statement before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources today during a hearing on a bill he introduced with U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to improve the process for reviewing permits to export U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to our allies and create jobs in states like New Mexico rich in the resource.
An excerpt of Senator Heinrich's prepared remarks on S. 33, the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act, is below:
"New Mexico ranks seventh in the nation in gas production. The main gas-producing region of New Mexico is the San Juan basin in the northwest around the City of Farmington. The good news is we have plenty of natural gas. However, the current surge in gas production has depressed prices to less than $3 per million BTU and impacted the economies of domestic gas-producing regions.
"I fully support the measured and cautious approach being taken by Secretary Moniz and Assistant Secretary Smith at the Department of Energy. It makes sense for DOE to complete its review of an application for exports to non-FTA countries only after the NEPA review has been completed.
"In addition, recent studies show that the industry can fully support modest levels of exports of LNG, with minimal impacts on consumers, while boosting the nation's economic output.
"I cosponsored this bill because I believe it will help stimulate job opportunities for my state's gas industry while fully preserving both FERC's environmental and safety reviews and DOE's determination of public interest, including the authority to approve or deny applications to export LNG to non-FTA countries."
The LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act will speed up the approval process for exports of LNG to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the United States. Specifically, the bill 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.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a companion bill, H.R. 351, to S.33, which received bipartisan support and passed the House floor with a vote of 277 to 133 on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.
Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute issued letters of support for S. 33 in advance of today's hearing. A list of participating witnesses for today's hearing is available here.