Pushback Against LNG Exports Growing
The organized resistance to LNG exports is increasing rapidly, from large demonstrations and civil disobedience to the halls of Congress. On Thursday, environmentalists, consumer advocates, and their allies in Congress pushed back against the shale gas industry’s campaign to exploit the crisis overseas by pushing for faster approval of environmentally destructive — and dangerous — LNG export facilities in the U.S.
LNG exports would not even reach Europe in time to help weaken Russia’s energy advantage, pragmatists argued cogently. That’s because prices are higher in Asia than in Europe, and because the first exports won’t begin until 2015 at the earliest, hardly in time to influence an intensely immediate crisis. The House Foreign Affairs Committee nonetheless added a pro-gas amendment to a bill calling for tougher sanctions for Russia.
Politico reports, “Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) scoffed during the committee markup at [the] call for gas exports. ‘My 13-year-old daughter would also like a pony,’ Grayson said before Republicans admonished him.”
Grist writer Ben Adler punches holes in the pro-LNG-export arguments here: “Republicans use Putin as an excuse to push fossil-fuel projects,”
In “Greens on Gas: Not So Fast,” Politico reports:
Athan Manuel, the Sierra Club’s senior director in Washington, called the use of the Ukraine card in the gas debate “a red herring.”
“Exporting LNG is no quick fix to this international crisis,” Manuel said. “All this aside, many of the proponents of LNG exports continue their willful ignorance about the dangers of gas fracking to American families’ health, land, water and air.”
More from Politico’s “Greens on Gas: Not So Fast”:
The shipments of liquefied natural gas might not even make it to Europe. | AP Photo
The drive to weaken Vladimir Putin though natural gas exports is meeting a green backlash.
Environmentalists and their congressional allies scoffed Thursday at a mounting campaign on the Hill to hasten U.S. gas exports, saying there’s no reason to think gas shipments would weaken Russia’s leverage over Europe’s energy supply. But exporting American shale gas could drive up prices for consumers and manufacturers at home, they warned, while encouraging the spread of fracking and lessening incentives for power companies to abandon coal-fired power.
The lines of this debate are being drawn sharply and clearly as the storm clouds gather:
“The main beneficiaries of allowing more exportation of fossil fuels would be the companies that produce those fossil fuels,” said an opinion piece published Thursday on the environmental website Grist.
Gas supporters showed no signs of giving up, however. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) led Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee in filing a bill Thursday that would order the approval of a host of export applications awaiting Energy Department approval. That came on top of bills filed earlier in the week by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Gardner’s rival in this year’s Colorado Senate race.
Need we mention this would be an excellent time to call your Congressperson? Find your Congressperson’s information right here if you don’t already have them on speed-dial.