The United States is blessed with an abundance of natural gas and has been a net exporter since January 2018. Thanks to the Trump Administration’s increased de-regulation, we are reaping the fruits of this expanding energy sector. With this increase in energy production, Congress must make proper investments in infrastructure and effectively reform regulations to aid in the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG). To help accomplish this, I and Congressman Michael Waltz (R-FL-06) have introduced the Small-Scale LNG Access Act (H.R. 1836). Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has introduced a Senate companion bill (S. 816), which has two new cosponsors and bipartisan support.
The Small-Scale LNG Access Act will expedite the approval of natural gas exports equal to or less than 51.1 billion cubic feet per year. The current permitting process for LNG export facilities is expensive, and small-scale projects often are not cost-effective under current conditions. Reducing the time and investment required for small-scale exports will benefit U.S. production, manufacturing, and create construction jobs while also reducing trade deficits with importing countries.
The Small-Scale LNG Access Act will codify the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2018 rule that expedites the approval of small-scale exports of LNG. These small-scale exports primarily service consumers in export markets in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America—a relatively untapped market for American natural gas. The United States exported roughly three billion cubic feet of natural gas to this region in 2016. Increasing exports of U.S. LNG will decrease this region’s reliance on Venezuelan fuel oil and have a positive impact on the United States’ economy, as well as the economies of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
We must capitalize on the growth of this energy sector. The Small-Scale LNG Access Act will supply the world with abundant, clean-burning American natural gas and in turn provide America good paying jobs, bolster our ties with Caribbean, Latin American, and European nations, and strengthen an emerging sector of our economy.