GUEST VIEW: Bi-partisan act will extend America’s power

By U.S. Reps. August Pfluger and Henry Cuellar

U.S. emissions fell by 25% in the power generation sector from 2015 to 2018. Meanwhile, China’s emissions continue to escalate, recently surpassing the emissions of all developed nations combined.

The United States reduced its carbon footprint through technological innovation and the power of the free market—not by any policy mandate from the federal government.

In fact, fracking unlocked the ability to access oil and natural gas reserves once thought to be out of reach. This enabled the production of nearly unlimited supplies of natural gas, which happens to be one of the cleanest burning fuels.

Natural gas is also one of the most versatile fuels as it is reliable and affordable. It is useful for home and industrial power applications at any scale. Market forces helped clean our air and reduce our energy costs.

Natural gas is abundant in America. Cooling it to a liquid state and exporting more of the resource achieves many benefits at once: it creates jobs, it enhances our national security, and it helps clean the air far beyond our borders.

Now market forces can help extend America’s influence while helping to reduce the global carbon footprint. The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act unleashes American energy producers to provide natural gas to our world partners. The bill would create thousands of jobs, reduce emissions, and strengthen our national security by lessening our dependence on foreign oil. This is a bi-partisan commonsense bill that we co-sponsored in the House.

The National Gas Export Expansion Act is straightforward: expand expedited approval of all LNG export permit applications to any country except those subject to sanctions or trade restrictions imposed by the United States (such as Iran, or those excluded by the president or Congress for reasons of national security).

Currently, it can take five years or more to permit exporting liquified natural gas (LNG) to other countries. This is far too long in a world that changes in an instant. This bipartisan bill is good for our Gulf Coast, Texas, and the entire United States.

Texas public schools and universities will benefit because energy not only powers our homes and jobs, it also kicks in a major share of education funding. Natural gas is reliable, abundant, and affordable. It is the key to reducing our carbon footprint, educating our students, and preparing the leaders of the future.

Furthermore, energy security is national security. The bill will allow us to reduce our dependence on foreign energy. The more dependent America is on foreign sources of energy, the weaker hand we have in world affairs. Exports lead to peace through American strength.

Internationally, American energy that powers our allies and partners is energy they do not have to obtain from unstable, unreliable, or even hostile sources like Russia or Iran. Unleashing American energy to the world market helps our partners and allies diversify their energy sources while lessening their dependence on Russian energy.

Exporting American LNG will also lift millions out of poverty. Currently 800 million people worldwide have no electricity, and 2.6 billion people still use wood or dung for heating and cooking. Exporting LNG will help to improve their lives as an affordable and reliable source of fuel for heating and cooking.

The National Gas Export Expansion Act embodies the American spirit by fostering innovation and emboldening the free market. Opening new markets for American LNG is the right thing to do. We urge our colleagues to pass this bill.