Senate Deadlock Stops LNG Amendment

Sen. John Barrosso (R-WY) and other supporters of a bill to expedite applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to nations without free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States have been blocked from offering their bill as an amendment to an energy measure that the Senate had been debating for more than a week.

Barrosso’s LNG amendment would have required the Department of Energy to automatically grant approval for applications to export LNG to all 159 member nations of the World Trade Organization and not just those countries that have FTAs with the United States (which is the requirement in current law).

The LNG amendment was one of four that Republicans had hoped to offer to the bill. Other amendments would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline, blocked Environmental Protection Agency rules for new powerplants, and restricted future attempts to impose a carbon tax. Although these amendments enjoyed some support from Democrats, the entire package was too much for the Democratic leadership to swallow and the underlying bill was pulled from the floor following a procedural vote on Mon. May 12.

Given the facts that: (1) control of the Senate is hotly contested in the 2014 midterm elections; (2) the LNG measure is opposed by key Senate Democrats; and (3) the administration seems content with the “status quo,” it is unclear whether the upper chamber will vote on the LNG export issue in the next six months.