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Nunes Opening Statement: Hearing on Trade Implications of U.S. Energy Policy and the Export of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

April 09, 2014

Good afternoon.  I want to welcome everyone to today’s hearing on the trade implications of U.S. energy policy and the export of liquefied natural gas.  Today’s hearing focuses on the enormous potential of the U.S. energy revolution of the past decade.  I’d like to make four points before we hear from our witnesses.

First, the exploration of unconventional energy reserves has strengthened U.S. energy security and positioned us as a net exporter.  

  • This energy revolution has already cut U.S. dependence on foreign energy by almost half since 2005. This dramatic shift reduces our dependence on imports from unstable and unfriendly sources.  
  • At the same time, these resources are being developed in an environmentally sensitive way.

Second, increasing exports of LNG and building LNG export facilities will create U.S. jobs and support economic growth.

  • Exhaustive studies by the Department of Energy show that LNG exports, on net, substantially benefit the U.S. economy.  In fact, the studies find that the more we export, the greater the benefits.
  • In addition, as we will hear today, the development of export facilities can also help build important domestic infrastructure and address barriers to greater domestic use of LNG.

Third, today’s discussion of LNG exports is especially timely in light of Russia’s recent belligerence against Ukraine.

  • Developing the capacity to export LNG from the United States is an important component of a comprehensive U.S. geostrategic policy.  
    While it will take time for U.S. exports to begin flowing to Europe, these exports can offset
  • Russia’s energy dominance there and create competition against major state-owned enterprises like Russia’s Gazprom.
  • U.S. exports would also encourage structural reforms and good business practices worldwide, including in Ukraine.

Fourth, to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the American energy revolution, we must address unnecessary regulatory barriers and outdated policies at DOE.  

  • Above all, we must ensure that natural gas development is not subject to unrealistic and damaging regulations that suppress production, as is the case with coal and other energy sources, and that federal lands and waters be opened to natural gas development where appropriate.
  • As for LNG exports, legislation introduced by Rep. Gardner to allow U.S. exports to all WTO members would create U.S. jobs, promote our geostrategic interests, and allow the United States to compete in this lucrative market, all without negatively impacting prices or the environment.  
  • Making it easier to export LNG also sets a good example for our trading partners and promotes our broader free trade agenda.
  • Finally, in considering this issue, we should keep in mind that Congress is constitutionally vested with authority over foreign trade.