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Senate Committee Set to Vote on Legislation to Speed Up LNG Export Approvals

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is expected to meet on Thursday to vote on a bill that would help expedite the approval of applications to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries.

The committee will consider the bill along with 19 other pieces of legislation this week. It was introduced by North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven in July. The legislation would amend the Natural Gas Act and limit the time the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has to consider and approve LNG export applications.

While the DOE most recently issued final authorization to Sempra Energy's large-scale Cameron LNG project and to a smaller Carib Energy LLC project in September, both on the Louisiana coast, it has only approved nine non-FTA export projects, while 26 still remain under review (see Daily GPI, Sept. 10). In May, the DOE modified its procedure for reviewing applications by taking a backseat to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission until it completes its environmental reviews, a process that is more time-consuming and costly than the DOE review (see Daily GPI, May 29).

While that was hailed as a positive step, critics of the federal LNG export approval process still claim it's taking too much time as the nation's onshore production continues to rise and overseas demand increases. Republicans in Congress have pushed for faster reviews and introduced bills to streamline approvals related to energy production and infrastructure development as well (see Daily GPI, July 11). 

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