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Increasing U.S. exports of LNG will create American jobs & bolster our strategic partnerships

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Congressman Turner: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, U.S. natural gas exports will create American jobs and will bolster our strategic partnerships. I serve as president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and many foreign officials have expressed their need for energy diversification. Russia, the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe, has repeatedly used natural gas pricing to draw governments closer to its orbit and punish western leaning governments with higher prices. 

U.S. natural gas exports will foster a more dynamic and competitive world energy market, helping to curve the use of energy as a political weapon. And regardless of where U.S. natural gas is shipped, increasing supply in the global market will help provide international customers with greater choice and leverage to negotiate prices. In fact, Obama Administration officials have made this very same argument. The State Department’s energy envoy recently stated, and I quote:

“Now, where the gas will go doesn’t matter.  The fact that we have approved exports of natural gas has already had an impact on Europe.  And where the molecule actually ends up going, also doesn’t matter.” 

Now, I understand there have been questions about whether or not European countries, such as Ukraine, are prepared to receive U.S. natural gas. Many of our European allies are implementing infrastructure projects to diversify their natural gas resources. For example, Poland and Lithuania are opening LNG import terminals to reduce their dependence on Russian gas. And just last week, Poland and Ukraine announced an agreement to construct a pipeline that will allow Ukraine to access natural gas from two LNG import terminals, potentially from the United States. England and Spain already have contracts in place to receive U.S. natural gas. These are just a few examples of infrastructure projects which the State Department is advocating for to help Europe diversify its natural gas resources. 

Mr. Speaker, last year, President Obama, in a joint statement with European leaders, welcomed U.S. natural gas exports to help our European allies and other strategic partners. While I am encouraged by the President’s statement, these words must be followed by action. The President must work with Congress to enact H.R. 351. I urge all of my colleagues to support the bill.

*H.R. 351, The LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act, passed the House this morning with a bipartisan vote of 277-133.