Nations dependent on Russian supplies plead for US gas exports

Thomas Lifson
Fracking is a strategic weapon in the US arsenal that, instead of costing billions of dollars, actually generates tax revenues and prosperity. It should be obvious that rapid expansion of our gas production and gas export terminals is an imperative for the economy and national security. It already is obvious to counties in Europe that face Russian blackmail over their natural gas supplies. Jonathan Broder reports in Roll Call:

Over the past few weeks, ambassadors from Eastern and Central Europe, the Baltic states and Greece have met with Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan andEdward Whitfield of Kentucky, to plead for a liberalization of the laws and regulations that limit U.S. gas exports. They also have conferred with Republican Michael R. Turner of Ohio, who sits on the Armed Services and Oversight and Government Reform panels.

“The presence of U.S. natural gas would be much welcome in Central and Eastern Europe, and congressional action to expedite LNG exports to America’s allies would come at a critically important time for the region,” the ambassadors of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia wrote in a letter last week to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, another outspoken supporter of expanding gas exports. “Energy security is not only a day-to-day issue for millions of citizens in our region, but it is one of the most important security challenges that America’s allies face in Central and Eastern Europe today.”

In this “year of action” promised by President Obama, there are a number of moves that could be made to advance the win-win strategy of gas exports:

There is no ban on U.S. gas exports, but U.S. law only expedites them to countries that have free-trade agreements with the United States. Under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 (PL 75-688), exporters must apply for a permit, which requires the Energy Department to decide whether the shipments are in the “public interest.”

Last week, Colorado Republican Cory Gardner and other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced legislation that would expedite the export of LNG to Ukraine and other European countries. The bill (HR 6) would accomplish this by widening exports beyond free-trade countries to states belonging to the World Trade Organization. The measure also would require immediate approval of two dozen pending export application.

In the Senate, Wyoming Republican John Barrasso introduced a bipartisan bill (S 192) that would characterize LNG exports to NATO countries as in the public interest, thereby speeding up their approval. “Natural gas exports will help our allies in Europe,” Barrasso said.

But there are opponents:

Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that oversees international energy security, introduced a bill (S 2088) last week that would require the Energy Department to weigh the impact of increased gas exports on consumers, the economy and foreign policy. That would further complicate the administration’s process for approving overseas sales of LNG.

Markey argues there’s no guarantee that relaxed export regulations will result in exports to Europe, noting that Asian markets are much more attractive.

This is a red herring. Terminals constructed on the East and Gulf Coasts would not be used for exports to Asia, because Europe is much closer. And because Russia is pressuring European gas customers, they would be willing to pay competitive prices. Adding regulatory complexity is not the way to exploit this God-given weapon/resource.

The real opposition to fracking comes from the greenie left, in particular from Billionaire hedge fund moneybags Tom Steyer. Timothy Carney in the Examiner posited that Steyer was the intended audience of the silly all-nighter fauxlibsuter stunt in the Senate:

 Monday night featured a dozen politicians speaking to one donor: Energy billionaire Tom Steyer.

Steyer, having made his riches partly in green energy and fossil fuels, has decided to spend his billions electing Democrats who will pass climate legislation. He says he’s divested from his energy holdings, signifying his intentions are sincere.

Steyer spent $8 million to help elect Terry McAuliffe governor of Virginia last fall. “Steyer will inject millions into assorted races” in 2014, reports Joe Hagan in Men's Journal. Steyer has made it very clear what a politician needs to do to get his money: Make a big deal about climate change.

Days before the climate talkathon, Steyer hosted a fundraiser in San Francisco for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Steyer’s senator, Barbara Boxer, was the driving force on the talkathon.

Steyer plans to spend $100 million this election helping his climate allies, as my Washington Examiner colleague Byron York reported.

It’s time to go Koch Brothers on Steyer, in the words of  Saul Alinsky’s 13th rule: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” . . . Make his name and face the target of protests over enabling Putin’s bullying of Europe. Point out how he has reaped his fortune from crony green deals.

Fracking is a strategic weapon in the US arsenal that, instead of costing billions of dollars, actually generates tax revenues and prosperity. It should be obvious that rapid expansion of our gas production and gas export terminals is an imperative for the economy and national security. It already is obvious to counties in Europe that face Russian blackmail over their natural gas supplies. Jonathan Broder reports in Roll Call:

Over the past few weeks, ambassadors from Eastern and Central Europe, the Baltic states and Greece have met with Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan andEdward Whitfield of Kentucky, to plead for a liberalization of the laws and regulations that limit U.S. gas exports. They also have conferred with Republican Michael R. Turner of Ohio, who sits on the Armed Services and Oversight and Government Reform panels.

“The presence of U.S. natural gas would be much welcome in Central and Eastern Europe, and congressional action to expedite LNG exports to America’s allies would come at a critically important time for the region,” the ambassadors of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia wrote in a letter last week to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, another outspoken supporter of expanding gas exports. “Energy security is not only a day-to-day issue for millions of citizens in our region, but it is one of the most important security challenges that America’s allies face in Central and Eastern Europe today.”

In this “year of action” promised by President Obama, there are a number of moves that could be made to advance the win-win strategy of gas exports:

There is no ban on U.S. gas exports, but U.S. law only expedites them to countries that have free-trade agreements with the United States. Under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 (PL 75-688), exporters must apply for a permit, which requires the Energy Department to decide whether the shipments are in the “public interest.”

Last week, Colorado Republican Cory Gardner and other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced legislation that would expedite the export of LNG to Ukraine and other European countries. The bill (HR 6) would accomplish this by widening exports beyond free-trade countries to states belonging to the World Trade Organization. The measure also would require immediate approval of two dozen pending export application.

In the Senate, Wyoming Republican John Barrasso introduced a bipartisan bill (S 192) that would characterize LNG exports to NATO countries as in the public interest, thereby speeding up their approval. “Natural gas exports will help our allies in Europe,” Barrasso said.

But there are opponents:

Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that oversees international energy security, introduced a bill (S 2088) last week that would require the Energy Department to weigh the impact of increased gas exports on consumers, the economy and foreign policy. That would further complicate the administration’s process for approving overseas sales of LNG.

Markey argues there’s no guarantee that relaxed export regulations will result in exports to Europe, noting that Asian markets are much more attractive.

This is a red herring. Terminals constructed on the East and Gulf Coasts would not be used for exports to Asia, because Europe is much closer. And because Russia is pressuring European gas customers, they would be willing to pay competitive prices. Adding regulatory complexity is not the way to exploit this God-given weapon/resource.

The real opposition to fracking comes from the greenie left, in particular from Billionaire hedge fund moneybags Tom Steyer. Timothy Carney in the Examiner posited that Steyer was the intended audience of the silly all-nighter fauxlibsuter stunt in the Senate:

 Monday night featured a dozen politicians speaking to one donor: Energy billionaire Tom Steyer.

Steyer, having made his riches partly in green energy and fossil fuels, has decided to spend his billions electing Democrats who will pass climate legislation. He says he’s divested from his energy holdings, signifying his intentions are sincere.

Steyer spent $8 million to help elect Terry McAuliffe governor of Virginia last fall. “Steyer will inject millions into assorted races” in 2014, reports Joe Hagan in Men's Journal. Steyer has made it very clear what a politician needs to do to get his money: Make a big deal about climate change.

Days before the climate talkathon, Steyer hosted a fundraiser in San Francisco for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Steyer’s senator, Barbara Boxer, was the driving force on the talkathon.

Steyer plans to spend $100 million this election helping his climate allies, as my Washington Examiner colleague Byron York reported.

It’s time to go Koch Brothers on Steyer, in the words of  Saul Alinsky’s 13th rule: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” . . . Make his name and face the target of protests over enabling Putin’s bullying of Europe. Point out how he has reaped his fortune from crony green deals.