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Democratic senators urge DOE to slow approval of LNG exports

A group of Democratic senators wants the U.S. Department ofEnergy to slow down its approval of LNG exports.

In a Sept. 21 letter to Energy Department Secretary ErnestMoniz, 12 senators called the agency's rate of approvals "alarming."High volumes of LNG exports could increase domestic natural gas and energyprices and disproportionately affect regions that do not produce largequantities of gas, they said.

"We ask that the DOE slow its approval process until thefull impacts of currently approved exports are realized," the letter said."We believe it would be prudent for the DOE to first evaluate the impactsof approved projects, especially as new export terminals come online, beforeapproving additional LNG exports." 

The letter also called on the Energy Department to morethoroughly consider climate change when ruling on LNG export.

The push to slow down the pace of Energy Department approvalscontrasts with three provisions in pending legislation that aim to expedite the process.The Senate energy bill, the House energy bill and the National Defense AuthorizationAct contain language that would shorten the Energy Department's deadline toapprove LNG projects for export. 

"Given that the Senate energy bill would expedite LNGregulatory approvals and that it passed the Senate by vote of 85-12, it's clearthat there is bipartisan support for LNG exports," Charlie Riedl,executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, said in an emailedstatement responding to the letter to Moniz.

The letter was signed by Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn.; DebbieStabenow, D-Mich.; Edward Markey, D-Mass.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; SheldonWhitehouse, D-R.I.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; TammyBaldwin, D-Wis.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; and Gary Peters, D-Mich.Sen. Angus King Jr., I-Maine, was the only independent on the letter.