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Central and Eastern European Ambassadors Call on Congress to Fast Track LNG Exports

A group of Central and Eastern European ambassadors to the United States on Monday urged congressional leaders to greenlight U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.

In a letter Monday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), ambassadors from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia pointed to U.S. shale gas exports as an opportunity to improve diversity and security of supply to Europe.

The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in a statement Monday alluded to the geopolitical implications of reducing dependence on Russian gas supply.

“Central and Eastern European States inherited from the Cold War a gas pipeline system dominated by a single supplier who did not hesitate to use its privileged position in the region to dictate terms of cooperation. Those countries have, however, made great progress in recent years in creating conditions for alternative supply routes, investing heavily in infrastructure,” the embassy said.

“Operational LNG terminals in Klaipeda, Lithuania, and Swinoujscie, Poland, have created a real opportunity to import LNG from any direction, including the [United States]...Nonetheless to make LNG imports possible, the development of export infrastructure in the United States is necessary.”

The ambassadors praised recent efforts in both the House and Senate to speed up U.S. Department of Energy approvals of LNG exports to non-free trade agreement countries.

Monday’s letter echoes a 2014 letter to Congress from ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, which called for expedited U.S. LNG exports to Europe following the political crisis in Ukraine.

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