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Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted May 30, 2014

Federal Environmental Reports Favor Natural Gas Exports

The Hill: The Department of Energy (DOE) released two reports Thursday with favorable conclusions about the environmental impacts of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The department said it is not “reasonably foreseeable” that there would be any domestic environmental impacts from the increased natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And in Europe and Asia, the natural gas would have much lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal when used for power generation.

The DOE is publishing the reports to gather comments on them and eventually use them in determining whether individual LNG export applications are in the country’s interest. Neither report is required by law, the agency said.

The reports came the same day the DOE proposed a new, streamlined process for considering applications to export LNG to countries with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement.

In the first report, the DOE said exporting more natural gas will likely increase the demand for it and might accelerate environmental impacts. But those environmental impacts would probably happen whether or not exports are prohibited.

“While DOE has made broad projections about the types of resources from which additional production may come, DOE cannot meaningfully estimate where, when, or by what method any additional natural gas would be produced,” the department said. “Therefore, DOE cannot meaningfully analyze the specific environmental impacts of such production, which are nearly all local or regional in nature.”

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Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.