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Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 18, 2013

Editorial: U.S. Right to Approve Cove Point LNG Export License

Washington Post: SOME BUILDING projects may be shovel-ready. Others are shovel-desperate: they are reasonable proposals that make economic sense and boast private backers but are being slowed or blocked by interest groups leaning on the government.

One that belongs in the second category is a plan to convert a natural gas import plant, an expensive facility in Cove Point, Md., that’s sitting idle, into one that can handle exports to gas-hungry Japan and India. The Energy Department approved the plan last week, but in Baltimore on Tuesday, a coalition of environmentalists and citizens groups promised to prevent the project from getting the 60 or so additional signoffs it needs. They should find a better use for their time.

According to projections distributed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the price of natural gas at Cove Point next month will be $3.22. The price in Japan will be $15.35. The economic opportunity is obvious. True, liquefying and transporting American gas on tankers will push up the price for Asian buyers, but it still will be an attractive option. High transport costs limit how much gas American companies will be able to sell abroad, so, contrary to a major argument from critics of the project, domestic gas prices will stay low. American manufacturers would have an edge against overseas competitors who have to pay shipping costs for access to cheap U.S. natural gas. The bottom line, according to arecent study commissioned by the Energy Department, is that allowing natural gas exports would result in net benefits to the country in every scenario analysts considered.

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Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.