On the same day that Sen. Mary Landrieu took the gavel of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a natural-gas export project in Louisiana received the green light from the Obama administration.
The two developments, which occurred just hours apart on Tuesday, are big boosts for Landrieu as she seeks reelection in Louisiana, a state that’s redder now than it was the last time she ran six years ago.
At an event in Washington, Landrieu she said she was “thrilled” about the approval. In a prepared statement, she described the announcement as “long overdue, but a welcome addition to the robust energy industry we are building in Louisiana.”
The Energy Department’s approval of the Louisiana project, owned by California-based Sempra Energy, is the sixth natural-gas export terminal that serves countries that aren’t free-trade partners with the U.S. More than 20 applications are still pending.
This announcement comes a week after Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee urged the administration to speed up approval of natural-gas exports, citing economic and geopolitical benefits.
The approval could inflame a debate that’s been brewing in Washington in recent years. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, has expressed concern over the pace of approvals and has considered putting a hold on confirmation of a top Energy Department official because of these concerns.
Dow Chemical, an international chemical manufacturing company whose headquarters are in Michigan, has been especially vocal in opposing unfettered exports. Dow and other companies that use natural gas as a feedstock, such as aluminum-maker Alcoa, are concerned that exporting the fossil fuel could raise domestic prices, which have been near record lows because of the natural-gas boom in the last several years.
Senate Environment and Public Works ranking member David Vitter, R-La., also praised the administration’s approval on Tuesday, although he noted this isn’t the final sign-off. “This conditional approval means the Cameron LNG project has taken an important step in the right direction,” said Vitter in a statement. “I’ll continue to push for final approval to get this cutting-edge liquefied natural gas project through the cumbersome federal regulatory process.” Vitter announced last month he is running for governor in Louisiana in 2015.
What We're Following See More »
The House voted down the otherwise uncontroversial Energy and Water appropriations bill Thursday after Democrats succeeded in attaching an amendment affirming LGBT job discrimination protections for military contractors. More than 40 Republicans supported the amendment, but when it came to vote on the bill, 130 Republicans joined all but six Democrats to sink the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan said Democrats voting against the bill after securing the amendment shows their intention was to scuttle the process. Democrats, however, blamed other so-called poison-pill amendments for their votes against the bill. Nonetheless, Ryan said he intends to continue the appropriations process.
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Airport screening delays have caused more than 70,000 American Airlines customers and 40,000 checked bags to miss their flights this year, an executive for the airline told a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Thursday. A shortage of staff and a surge in air travelers have created a nightmare scenario for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with airport wait times in places like Chicago stretching beyond two hours."
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
That the minority leader curses the Senate with his "cancerous leadership." After Reid tried to halt a defense bill, Cotton took to the floor and blasted Reid, adding, "As a junior senator, I preside over the Senate. I usually do in the morning, which means I'm forced to listen to the bitter, vulgar, incoherent ramblings of the Minority Leader. Normally, like other Americans, I ignore them."