The proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Oregon got a boost from lawmakers Friday during a House committee field hearing in Colorado, which includes the natural gas-rich Piceance Basin.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), whose district includes the Piceance, issued a call for federal regulators to approve the project for which Western Slope producers want to contribute. He noted that the proposed project would open Asian markets to Colorado gas producers.

Following discussions with expert witnesses, he said there are “steps the federal government can take to help Western Colorado fulfill its energy potential.”

Western Slope producers and industry backers in Colorado have pushed for FERC to approve the project, which would be the first export facility on the U.S. West Coast.

Executive Director David Ludlam of the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association said it was important for House members to “hear directly from Colorado and Utah just how important West Coast energy exports are to creating a safer world with cleaner air and stronger economic relationships between Rock Mountain energy producing states and overseas trading partners.”

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), who convened the field hearing at Colorado Mesa University, said the Western Slope represents the nation’s second largest natural gas reserve area in the Piceance and some of the world’s largest oil shale deposits. Oil shale, sedimentary rock containing kerogen, is different from the shale oil now being produced.

Bishop said the field hearing reiterated that there is an “abundance of American energy available for exploration.”

Former sponsor Veresen Inc., now part of Pembina Pipeline Corp., reportedly has considered selling up to a 40% equity interest to offtakers. The project has long-term capacity agreements with a Tokyo-based joint venture Jera Co. Inc. and Itochu Corp.

After rejecting the project two years ago, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reconsidering a revised application from Pembina. The U.S. Coast Guard last month gave the green light to shipping for the export terminal and connecting transmission pipeline that would be sited in Coos Bay.

Ludlam said after hearing from producers, academics, trade associations and local elected officials, the House committee members “can make no mistake on where our community stands on Jordan Cove LNG.”