Voted “No” on H.R. 351

1/30/2015

On Wednesday, the House voted on and passed the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act (H.R. 351) by a 277–133 vote. I voted against H.R. 351.

Under current law, companies must apply for and receive a Department of Energy (DOE) “public interest” permit in order to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to nations without a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. The Department of Energy (DOE) looks at the construction and operation of facilities that would be necessary to hold and maintain LNG, as well as how the public interest will be affected by these facilities.
With the increase in domestic natural gas production, due primarily to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), there is heightened interest in increasing LNG exports. H.R. 351 would expedite the current review process for DOE applications and expand the number of countries where LNG can be exported. Proponents of this legislation argue that exporting LNG will increase U.S. standing in the world and help counter the influence of Russia in certain areas where they are the primary supplier of natural gas.

I do not support H.R. 351 in its current form. If we are going to increase the amount of LNG we export, Congress should enhance safety and environmental protections. In addition, the long-term environmental impacts of fracking, including the effects on groundwater, need to be better understood prior to further increasing demand for natural gas from fracking.