Drill Here, Sell There, Pay More

DOE Says No New LNG Permits before Study on Economic Impacts Completed

WASHINGTON (March 1, 2012) - Concerned that the wholesale export of American-made natural gas could raise prices for consumers and businesses, Rep. Ed Markey's (D-Mass.) today released a report, prepared at his request by the House Natural Resources Committee's Democratic staff, exposing the perils of large-scale natural gas exports for the U.S. economy. Included in the report is new information from the Department of Energy Secretary indicating that the agency will not approve any new export licenses until a full study of the economic impacts of these decisions is completed.

The Markey staff analysis, titled "Drill Here, Sell There, Pay More" is available on the Natural Resources Democratic website HERE.

DOE's response to Rep. Markey is attached to the report and Rep. Markey's original letter to Secretary Chu can be foundHERE. The DOE response to Rep. Markey says that "DOE will not issue a final order addressing the pending applications to export LNG...until the full study has been completed and the Department has had an opportunity to review the results."

The Natural Resources Democratic staff report comes at a time when Americans are facing increasing costs at the gas pump, and American national and economic security interests have been compromised by our continued reliance on Middle East oil. Meanwhile, natural gas prices have decreased due to expanded domestic production and supply discoveries. Those lower prices have encouraged expanded domestic manufacturing and provided cheaper fertilizer to farmers, among other benefits, giving America a competitive advantage over markets where natural gas costs many times more than in the United States.

Yet even with these benefits to the economy and America's national security, the natural gas industry, the American Petroleum Institute and Congressional Republicans are supporting a huge increase in the export of American natural gas. DOE has already approved one export terminal, and eight other applications are pending, which could result in the export of more than 20 percent of current domestic production, and up to a 54 percent increase in prices, according to the Energy Information Administration.

"At a time when Americans are feeling the pain at the pump, we should be keeping more of our American fuel here in America," said Rep. Markey, who is the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee. "Republicans used to say ‘Drill here, drill now, pay less', but it's clear that their new strategy is ‘Drill here, sell there, pay more.'"

Rep. Markey has offered several amendments to Republican drilling bills to keep the natural gas produced in America here in the domestic market, yet Republicans have voted them down every single time on the House floor and in committees. Rep. Markey also introduced two bills last month that would ban the export of natural gas extracted on taxpayer-owned lands to foreign markets, and place a moratorium on the approval of new natural gas export terminals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission until 2025.

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