U.S. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming is backing a bill that would speed up the approval process needed to ship natural gas overseas.
Introduced Thursday by Barrasso and fellow Republican Sens. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and John Cornyn of Texas, the bill would fast-track exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to North Atlantic Treaty Organization member nations and Japan.
Current law requires the secretary of energy to sign off on such exports to nations with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement, and open a comment period on such exports to countries without a free trade agreement.
The bill would skip the public comment step for exports to NATO allies and Japan, and allow the energy secretary to skip the step for other countries if the secretaries of state and defense agree such a move would be in the national security interest of the U.S.
“Increased LNG exports will create good-paying jobs and open markets for Wyoming’s natural gas,” Barrasso said in a statement issued Thursday. “This will expand economic opportunities across America and help lower our nation’s trade deficit.”
Barrasso joins Gov. Matt Mead in his support of liquefied natural gas exports. Mead last week penned a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu declaring support for terminals that would ship the product.