As Europe rebounds from their energy crisis, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and their overreliance on Russian energy, the U.S. has led support for the continent through the export of liquid natural gas (LNG). Though the U.S. exported a record amount of LNG last year, more can, and should, be done to help countries across the globe.
This week, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and John Kennedy (R-LA), reintroduced a bill to accelerate the federal approval process for exporting LNG. The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act would amend the Natural Gas Act to expedite “non-free trade agreement export permits” so applications to export LNG to certain countries would be the same as free trade countries, receiving the same accelerated approval process. The act also retains current law for restricted nations, excluding any nations subject to sanctions or trade violations.
The reintroduction of this bill is paramount for facilitating energy security around the world. Not only would the legislation create and support thousands of jobs domestically, but it would also strengthen economic relationships with our allies and provide Europe a cleaner, more reliable energy source than coal, for example.
As Europe looks to move to green energy technologies over the long-term, natural gas can help reduce emissions in the short-term as a transition fuel. The use of our abundant natural gas resources is the leading cause for the reduction in U.S. carbon emissions since emissions peaked in 2007. Methane emissions have decreased by 25% since 1990, even as domestic natural gas production doubled.
The Natural Gas Expansion Act is a significant step in promoting global energy security. Expediting LNG exports will not only reduce emissions as countries seek to transition their energy sources to renewables, but it will also help ensure energy independence so that Petro-Authoritarians like Vladimir Putin cannot wield their influence over nations dependent on foreign sources of energy.