U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired its Energy Subcommittee hearing on several pieces of proposed legislation, including his own Small Scale LNG Access Act (S.1981). The bill would expedite the approval of natural gas exports equal to or less than 51.1 billion cubic feet per year. These exports would be deemed consistent with the public interest and green lighted without delay.
A full transcript of Cassidy’s opening remarks in the hearing is below.
CASSIDY: Good afternoon. I call this hearing to order.
Today, the business before the subcommittee is to receive testimony on several pieces of legislation relating to the applied energy programs at the Department of Energy. I would like to thank Under Secretary Mark Menezes for appearing before the subcommittee today to provide the Department of Energy’s perspective. A Louisiana native and fellow LSU Tiger, I introduced Under Secretary Menezes at his confirmation hearing. I am pleased to welcome him back today.
A bill under consideration today is one I introduced with Senator Rubio: the Small Scale LNG Access Act of 2017. This legislation codifies a rule proposed by the Department of Energy to expedite the approval of small-scale exports of natural gas. Small-scale exports primarily target markets in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. These markets represent relatively untapped potential as the United States only exported approximately three billion cubic feet of natural gas to the region in 2016.
Increasing exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas—or LNG—will decrease Caribbean & Central American reliance on Venezuelan fuel oil, increase economic opportunities, and offer a cleaner-burning fuel source for those nations. Reducing the time and investment required for small-scale exports will simultaneously benefit U.S. production, manufacturing, and construction jobs while also reducing trade deficits with the importing country. Increasing LNG exports, even on a small scale, will positively impact the economies of the U.S. and those receiving the U.S. gas.
I would like to submit a letter for the record that I, along with Chairman Barrasso and Chairman Murkowski, sent to Secretary Perry in support of the Department of Energy proposed rule. The letter highlights the U.S.’ ability to meet the demands of increased LNG exports and the benefits of doing so.
In addition, the committee will consider three bills relating to energy storage. Just a few weeks ago in this room, the full committee held a robust hearing on energy storage highlighting a number of opportunities and challenges associated with these technologies. Our accomplished panel of witnesses provided numerous thoughts on what a successful research, development, demonstration, and deployment program could look like. Today we continue that conversation by considering:
– S. 1455, Senator Flake’s Energy Storage Goals and Demonstration Projects Act;
– S. 1851, Senator Franken’s Advancing Grid Storage Act; and
– S. 1876, Senator Wyden’s Reducing the Cost of Energy Storage Act.
In addition, we will consider Chairman Gardner’s Reliable Investment in Vital Energy Reauthorization Act, a bill that previously was reported from this committee last year and included in the energy bill, as well as Senator Tillis’ Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Harmonization Act.
Last but not least, we will consider Senator Manchin’s Rare Earth Element Advanced Coal Technologies Act, which I am sure he will touch on during his opening statement.
With that, I turn to Senator Manchin.