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Upton Responds to Putin’s Decision to Cut off Ukraine’s Gas

Bipartisan House bill would allow for increased U.S. liquefied natural gas exports, benefitting U.S. economy and America’s global allies

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released the following statement in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia will cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine unless it receives pre-payments.

“Threatening to turn off the spigot of natural gas to Ukraine is nothing but extortion playing out on the global stage. This shameful act of defiance by Putin underscores the growing need for Congress to act on LNG exports. Passage of Rep. Gardner’s bipartisan legislation, H.R. 6, would send the clear signal that we are serious about enlarging the scope of natural gas exports, and immediately undercut Russia’s dominance. Russia has chosen to wield its energy resources as a geopolitical weapon to inflict harm on others. As the world’s emerging energy superpower, America has a newfound responsibility to help our allies. I look forward to a strong vote on the House floor and urge the Senate to take action on this critical issue."

The increased export of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) would have widespread benefits at home and abroad, but the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) slow approval process threatens this opportunity.

H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, would help clear the backlog of export applications currently pending at DOE. The legislation provides that DOE must issue a decision on any application no later than 90 days of enactment or the end of the application's comment period. It also provides for expedited judicial review for challenges to DOE’s decision or inaction on these applications. Currently 24 applications are awaiting action from DOE, and some have been languishing for over two years. H.R. 6 was approved by Upton’s committee on April 30, 2014, by a bipartisan vote of 33-18 and is expected to be considered by the full House in the coming weeks.

DOE analysis finds that America has enough natural gas to meet domestic needs affordably while also supporting economically beneficial export markets in LNG. According to the Department, the U.S. economy will experience “net economic benefits” from allowing increased LNG exports. In addition to the economic benefits and jobs resulting from building new export facilities, opening new markets for American natural gas would encourage further production of domestic energy, helping to create additional jobs and support America’s manufacturing renaissance.

Increasing U.S. LNG exports has been widely praised as beneficial to both the U.S. economy and our allies, including The Washington Post which stated: “The economic case for allowing natural gas exports is compelling on its own. Doing so would bring money into the country and uphold the vital principle that energy resources should flow freely around the globe, making the markets for the fuels the world economy needs as flexible and robust as possible. The more major suppliers there are following that principle, the less control predatory regimes such as Mr. Putin’s will have over the market.”

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