By Editorial Board
March 14th 2012
Boosting the economy through natural gas exports
As recently as 2005, many experts thought that the United States would need more liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports. Now, the U.S. industry is gearing up to export gas, including LNG. The Energy Department recently approved Cheniere Energy’s plan to export 2.2 billion cubic feet a day of LNG from a facility in Louisiana that was originally intended to take in imports. The department is considering applications from seven other companies. If the Energy Department approves them all, the United States would be capable of exporting a quantity of gas equal to almost a fifth of current consumption.
That prospect has some people worried. Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club fear that increased “fracking” for shale gas would harm groundwater. But most of the pushback comes from certain segments of the business community that fear that diverting U.S. gas into world markets would raise prices for everyone from steel companies to electric utilities. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has proposed a bill that would prohibit any new LNG export facilities until 2025.