Spider Marks: DOE needs to recognize importance of US energy to national security

Writing in the Hammond Daily Star, retired Major General James ‘Spider’ Marks asked the simple question, “why does this administration want to put our national security energy posture at risk?” The U.S. has helped stabilize our allies in Europe’s energy security after a volatile year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, their decoupling from Russia’s energy sector has necessitated help from the U.S. in the form of liquid natural gas (LNG), and while we have exported a considerable amount to Europe, more can and should be done to help.

The Biden administration’s Department of Energy recently rejected an extension request for exports at a new LNG facility in Louisiana. Energy Transfer’s Lake Charles LNG facility has faced multiple setbacks, including supply chain issues associated with Covid-19, as well as damage from natural disasters. Expected to cost about $19 billion, the facility would have the capacity to produce 16.45 million tons of LNG per annum.

Marks writes, “despite the clear economic and geopolitical benefits of LNG exports, the Department of Energy’s decision to deny an extension for the Lake Charles LNG facility sends a troubling signal about the government’s commitment.” On their latest earnings call, Energy Transfer CFO Tom Long noted that the DOE had not reached out to enquire on the project’s progress, and that the company had invested over $200 million so far.

Energy security is essential to national security, as the last year and a half have exemplified. The DOE’s decision to deny this extension request is a clear example of disregarding energy security, both for our nation and our allies who desperately need our energy resources. Marks notes, “instead of hampering the growth of the natural gas industry, DOE should be working to expand it in a sustainable and responsible way.”

According to a recent statement from the company, Energy Transfer plans to ask the DOE for a rehearing of the extension.

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