| WASHINGTON, March 25
WASHINGTON, March 25 U.S. lawmakers will hear
testimony on Tuesday from those who favor loosening restrictions
on liquefied natural gas exports so that abundant American
supplies could help reduce Ukraine and Europe's dependence on
European worries about the security of energy supplies have
grown since Russian forces seized control of the Crimean
peninsula from Ukraine this month. Moscow has in years past cut
gas supplies amid regional disputes.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy must give
permission to export natural gas to all but a handful of
countries with free trade agreements with the United States.
Opponents of unlimited gas exports have argued that shipping
too much natural gas abroad could cause U.S. prices to rise,
hampering the economy's ability to recover from the recent
Hearings before the House and Senate energy committees come
on the heels of the Energy Department's sixth approval of LNG
exports from a U.S. plant in the past 10 months.
"While our government does not dictate where that supply
will go, it does control how fast we will connect to the global
market," David Goldwyn, a senior fellow at Brookings
Institution, will tell lawmakers at a Senate Energy Committee
hearing slated for 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on Tuesday.
This will be Senator Mary Landrieu's first hearing as
chairwoman of the Energy Committee. The Louisiana Democrat has
pressed to streamline review of the 24 applications in the
A vocal coalition of industrial companies, led by Dow
Chemical Co, has disputed claims that speeding up the
Energy Department approvals would help Ukraine or other allies
as substantial U.S. gas exports remain years away.
ELIMINATING DOE'S REVIEW
One solution is legislation that the House Energy Committee
will consider on Tuesday afternoon to allow U.S. natural gas
exports to any country that is a member of the World Trade
Organization without government approval.
While the administration has not officially taken a position
on the measure, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural
Gas Paula Gant will tell lawmakers the bill would essentially
eliminate the need for Energy Department review of applications.
The WTO encompasses 159 nations, including every country
that has expressed interest in LNG imports, Gant said in
Instead exporting natural gas, the United States should look
to export drilling technology that would allow countries such as
Ukraine to tap their own shale gas reserves, Dave Schryver, the
executive vice president of the American Public Gas Association
will tell lawmakers at the House hearing.
"There is certainly no good reason why the U.S. should
undertake a domestic LNG export policy that has numerous
downsides for the American gas consumers when many of the very
countries we are seeking to help are capable of helping
themselves by accessing their own domestic shale gas reserves,"
APGA, which is a part of Dow's coalition, is opposed to all
U.S. LNG exports, which it says will increase the price of U.S.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Lisa