Lng Permitting Certainty and Transparency Actby Representative Paul Tonko
Posted on 2015-01-28
TONKO. I thank the gentleman from New Jersey.
Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that we are beginning the 114th Congress the way we ended the previous one--with legislation that is more about message than about solving real problems.
The message of H.R. 351 is that we are interested in elevating the interests of the oil and gas industry above any others. Consumers will not benefit from this policy, and manufacturers will not benefit from this policy. Eliminating the public interest determination sends that message clearly.
[[Page H650]] In spite of the assertions by its supporters, H.R. 351 won't do much for our allies either, especially those in Europe or Ukraine. The bill fixes no problem. There is no backlog of applications at the Department of Energy. Japan, our ally and the world's largest purchaser of LNG, has three importers who signed contracts in 2013 with three approved LNG export facilities, those being Freeport, Cameron, and Cove Point.
Because natural gas is such an important and strategic resource, we should, if anything, be questioning the administration about the wisdom of issuing so many approvals. Why? They are relying on assumptions, models, and estimates of recoverable domestic gas reserves that are very uncertain and that have been decreasing as new information becomes available.
Exporters sign these contracts to guarantee deliveries for some 10 to 20 years. I am not willing to risk price spikes for consumers, families, and small businesses or to risk the benefits of lower gas prices for our manufacturing sector for a slightly improved trade balance. I am unwilling to repeal the requirement for a consideration of the public interest before more export facilities are approved, not for a resource that is so strategic and widely used.
H.R. 351 does not fix any real problems, but it could, indeed, help to create some. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I urge the defeat of this bill.