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Energy Edge

Threading the Needle on Natural-Gas Exports

February 11, 2014

Threading the Needle on Natural-Gas Exports

For this moment in time, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz appears to be making (almost) everyone happy with natural-gas exports.

The Energy Department on Tuesday approved the sixth project to export liquefied natural gas, and even one of the most vocal Democrats expressing concerns over too many exports—Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan—said after the announcement she's "comfortable" with Moniz's long-term strategy.

 

Meanwhile, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, poised to chair the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she was "thrilled" by the approval. The project is in her state. Her Republican counterpart from Louisiana, Senate Environment and Public Works ranking member David Vitter, issued a mostly positive statement.

Like all moments, this one may not last long. Some analysts predict the administration may push "pause" on future natural-gas exports, and outspoken opponents such as Dow Chemical are urging such a move.

So whether you enjoy this moment or not, take it in while it lasts.

Amy Harder
@AmyAHarder
aharder@nationaljournal.com

P.S. Is Obama right to bet on natural gas? Take the NJ Energy Poll

TOP ENERGY NEWS

By Clare Foran (@ckmarie) and Ben Geman (@Ben_Geman)

CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE COULD SEND ELECTRICITY PRICES SOARING. An Energy Department official said the use of CCS at coal-fired power plants could cause electricity prices to rise by up to 80 percent.

  • Our take: Look for that information to resurface as Republicans intensify their battle against EPA's upcoming carbon emissions standards for power plants.

LANDRIEU ERA SET TO BEGIN ON ENERGY PANEL. The ally of oil and natural-gas producers is poised to take the gavel of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

STABENOW 'COMFORTABLE' WITH GAS-EXPORT STRATEGY. After expressing concerns for months that President Obama was moving too fast approving exports of natural gas, a senior Senate Democrat now says she's "comfortable" with the strategy.

SENATORS AND SCIENTISTS PLAY CLIMATE DATING GAME. Democrats want action on climate change, but can't agree on what role scientists should play in the debate.

INDIA VOWS TO STAND GROUND IN SOLAR TRADE FIGHT WITH U.S. The nations are at odds over U.S. companies' access to India's solar-development program.

NATURAL GAS EXPORT PROJECT GETS GREEN LIGHT. The Obama administration on Tuesday approved the nation's sixth natural-gas export project.

HOUSE GOP ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD HITS NEW LOW. House conservatives aren't voting to protect the environment according to an analysis by environmental advocacy group the League of Conservation Voters.

GOP SENATORS APPLY PRESSURE ON KEYSTONE. Republican senators led by John Hoeven of North Dakota and Bob Corker of Tennessee sent a letter to the president calling on him to approve the pipeline.

MURKOWSKI RAISES CONCERNS OVER GRID RELIABILITY. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, issued a white paper showing that new EPA regulations and changes in the U.S. energy mix could threaten the electric grid.

GOP HOUSE DELEGATION OPPOSES INTERIOR DEPT. NOMINEE. Republicans In the Louisiana House delegation are concerned that Rhea Suh, Obama's nominee to be assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, is opposed to natural gas production.

CALIFORNIA LEADS NATION IN SOLAR JOBS. State-specific jobs numbers for the solar industry show that California and Arizona have the largest numbers of solar jobs across the country.

WEST VIRGINIA FACES FRESH ACCIDENT. A slurry line has ruptured at a coal-prep plant in the state.

YOUR TAKE…

NATIONAL JOURNAL ENERGY POLL: Is Obama making the right bet by fully backing natural gas?

A) Yes, completely

B) Partly, but he needs to bet more on renewable energy too

C) No, not at all

D) Undecided

Click here to respond

WHAT INSIDERS ARE SAYING…

IS OBAMA MAKING THE RIGHT BET ON NATURAL GAS? In his State of the Union speech, Obama doubled down on his support for natural gas, calling it "the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution that causes climate change." Is that the right decision?

"The President's acceptance of the current oil and gas boom as a major economic driver reminds me of the man who runs to the front of a parade and then claims to be leading it. For several years, the President employed an "all of the above" rhetoric that did not match his actions. Now, in a style reminiscent of the saying "an enemy of my enemy is my friend," comes a late embrace of natural gas as the President advances his war on coal." -William O'Keefe, CEO, George C. Marshall Institute

"Republicans are right to point out that the Obama Administration is not responsible for the increase in US oil and gas production – just as Ronald Reagan did not produce the low oil prices of his administration. What Obama is responsible for is the almost inexplicable passivity with which his Administration is responding to that increase. It's like playing poker without looking at your hand." -Carl Pope, former chairman and executive director, Sierra Club

Read the full responses from National Journal's Energy Insiders

HAPPENING TOMORROW

EXTREME WEATHER HEARING. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a full committee hearing entitled "Extreme Weather Events: The Costs of Not Being Prepared."

EFFICIENCY HEARING. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Energy Subcommittee holds a hearing entitled "Lessons from State Efficiency and Renewable Programs."

FISHERIES HEARING. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a full committee hearing on "Fisheries Treaties and Port State Measures Agreements."

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