House Republicans are pushing legislation that would transfer authority to approve natural gas exports from the Department of Energy (DOE), which has granted two export requests, to FERC, which has only approved one export terminal.

The measure (HR 2471), which is sponsored by Reps. Ted Poe and Ralph Hall, both from Texas, seeks to amend the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, which grants the department the power over liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

“What we’re seeing from [the Poe-Hall bill] is a dissatisfaction with the pace that DOE is approving these applications,” said Bill Cooper, president of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas.

DOE has approved applications for only two LNG export projects so far: the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, TX, and the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish, LA (see Daily GPI, May 20, May 23, 2011). There are approximately 18 export applications still pending at the department, according to Poe. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) only has approved a construction license for the Sabine Pass Terminal.

“We are sitting on more natural gas than we could ever consume on our own; it is long past time to update the old…law, dismantle antiquated and bureaucratic roadblocks, and take the [DOE] out of the export license-granting process altogether. That’s why I [am introducing] the ‘Expedite Our Economy Act of 2013,’ which calls for removing DOE from the process so we can finally get to work.”

Mindful of the inability of this Congress to pass any bills of substance itself, what are the odds that the bill will get out of Congress? “Certainly the closer it gets to 2014 [election year] the harder it will be to move any legislation,” Cooper told NGI.

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