Senators urge administration to rally support for U.S. LNG exports to allies

    Washington, D.C. (KINY) - U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel yesterday urging the Biden administration to publicly support the export of abundant U.S. natural gas to America’s allies in Europe and Asia, particularly Japan, which has prioritized energy security in its term leading the G7.

    The senators asked Ambassador Emanuel to work with Japanese officials to build G7 support for public and private investment in natural gas supply chains and to streamline permitting and regulations that could otherwise impede natural gas projects.

    Sen. Sullivan has previously recounted conversations with senior Japanese officials who told him that White House Climate Czar John Kerry has discouraged them from pursuing the import of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet their country’s energy needs.

    Here is the full text of the letter:

    The Honorable Rahm Emanuel
    Ambassador of the United States

    We appreciate your continued leadership in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations. Japan is not only a vital mutual security treaty ally but also the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner and most significant source of foreign investment. Japan is also a critical U.S. partner for enhancing energy security in the Asia-Pacific region, an area where U.S. energy exports can play a notable role – in 2023 alone, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to increase to more than 12 billion cubic feet per day. Alaska, for example, has over 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas readily available for export, which can provide a number of strategic geopolitical benefits for U.S.-Japan relations, along with additional export facilities currently under construction along the Gulf Coast.

    Following Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, G7 leaders quickly agreed to reduce and eliminate dependence on Russian gas as soon as possible. At the G7 summit last June, leaders recognized “the important role increased deliveries of LNG can play” in phasing out dependency on Russian energy and that “investment in this sector is necessary in response to the current crisis.”[1] The international community recognizes the role LNG can play as a reliable, low-emissions fuel.

    One year later, however, there remains a gap between the political commitment to backfill the supply of Russian gas taken off the market and the necessary policies to fill that gap. Excessive restrictions on public financing of gas projects and unnecessary delays in approving privately-financed projects impede the development of critical infrastructure to expand output and exports. These impediments must be addressed immediately, as U.S. allies and partners continue to face energy insecurity, with many forced to increase reliance on or return to higher-emitting energy sources.

    As the President of the G7 this year, Japan has identified energy security as a key policy priority. We strongly urge you to further this initiative with Japan given their leadership in this space, and offer recommendations to advance energy security for the U.S., Japan, other G7 members, and their allies. Specifically, the G7 should agree to:
    (i)    Encourage public and private investment in all segments of the natural gas supply chain;
    (ii)    Review and, as appropriate, modify existing guidelines and practices with respect to public financing of natural gas infrastructure; and
    (iii)    Review and, as appropriate, modify existing regulatory regimes and practices to facilitate timely approval of requests to develop and operate natural gas infrastructure.
    It is imperative you work with Japan to achieve consensus among G7 members to implement their commitment to expand and ensure a sufficient supply of natural gas in a manner consistent with their climate commitments. We appreciate your consideration of our views and look forward to continuing to work with you to strengthen security, economic and energy relations between the United States and Japan.

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