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Sen. Murkowski: Natural Gas Exports Clearly in the Public Interest

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today encouraged the Obama administration to expedite its process for approving liquefied natural gas (LNG) export licenses to take advantage of the abundance of U.S. energy for the economic and security benefits of the nation.

140619 LAM at LNG Exports Hearing

(Click for video of Sen. Murkowski’s opening statement)

“This hearing is being held in the midst of geopolitical turbulence – Ukraine is in turmoil, Iraq is on the brink, and energy is never far from any of these discussions,” Murkowski said. “Our rising production of natural gas gives us the opportunity to satisfy our own needs here at home and to help our friends and allies around the world – and to play a constructive role in global energy markets as a leader, not merely an importer.”

Murkowski’s comments came Thursday at an oversight hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on LNG exports.

Murkowski, a staunch supporter of updating U.S. energy export policies, said increasing the amount of LNG exported abroad would clearly be in the public interest, a position supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) and multiple independent analyses.

“I’ve weighed the options. I’ve looked at the evidence. I’ve attended multiple hearings on this issue. It’s time to move beyond speculation and get to the business of nuts-and-bolts governance and of actually getting things done rather than endlessly wringing our hands and falling prey to special interests and ideology,” Murkowski said.

140619 LAM questions at LNG Exports Hearing

(Click for video of Murkowski’s questions on the closing window of opportunity)

“I have long advocated for expediting the process for federal approvals of LNG exports. I have reached out to the administration hoping to find ways we here in the Senate can help grant these no-brainer approvals on a timely basis,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski said she is optimistic about the recent procedural change at DOE to clean up the conditional LNG export licensing process, and to allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take the lead. But she cautioned that uncertainty remains around the mechanics of the final licensing process.

“There are reasons for optimism about the new procedural change at DOE, but there are also reasons for skepticism. As the proposal is implemented, I will be watching carefully to make sure that it actually improves the permitting process,” Murkowski said. “I also believe it’s time to consider legislation to bring certainty to the pace of final approvals.”

Murkowski is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Her white paper on LNG exports is available here. Full video of Thursday’s hearing is available on the energy panel’s website.

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