Congressional rules specify that bills introduced in one Congress die when the Senate and House of Representatives adjourn sine die. Thus, the LNG export bills from the 113th Congress had to be reintroduced when the 114th Congress convened.
Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and six others—three Republicans and three Democrats—introduced S. 33 on Tue. Jan. 6, the first day of the new Congress. Entitled the “LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act,” the bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. A committee hearing on the bill could occur within the next few weeks, perhaps as early as Jan. 29.
The news release issued by Barrasso and Heinrich describe the principal elements of the bill as follows:
- The Secretary of Energy would have to issue a final decision on an application to export LNG to countries without free trade agreements with the United States within 45 days from the time the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the U.S. Maritime Administration publishes the final environmental document for the project.
- Expedited judicial review (in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit or the circuit in which the export project will be located) would be provided if the Secretary fails to act within 45 days or if the project is subject to a legal challenge.
- LNG exporters would be required to disclose the country or countries to which LNG has been delivered and require the Secretary of Energy to make this information available to the public.
Frank J. Macchiarola, executive vice president for government affairs at America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) said: Introduction of the Barrasso-Heinrich bill is more forward progress toward a strong U.S. LNG export policy because it will speed up the approval of LNG export terminals. We commend Senators Barrasso and Heinrich and the other bipartisan cosponsors for their leadership. Exporting natural gas will make it possible for America to take advantage of our abundant domestic energy resource, reduce our trade deficit, and deliver clean, affordable natural gas around the world. Requiring DOE to make a timely decision on export terminals, this measure will support investment, expand our workforce and improve American economic and energy security.