Families on the front lines of mining, drilling, and fracking need your help. Support them now!

Media Contact:

Rebekah Staub, Permian-Gulf Communications Manager, rstaub@earthworks.org

WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Jeff Merkley, along with Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA-02), Nanette Barragán (D-CA-44), and Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04), sent a bicameral letter along with over 60 of their colleagues to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) urging the agency to update how it determines if new licenses for liquified natural gas (LNG) exports to non-free, U.S. trade countries are in the public interest. 

The letter highlights concerns that DOE’s current approach to making these determinations does not fully or accurately consider how these exports impact the climate, environmental justice, or domestic energy prices.

U.S. LNG exports have doubled over the past four years, and projects currently under development are set to almost double exports again. DOE’s case-by-case approach to approvals ignores the aggregate impact that the explosive growth in U.S. LNG exports is having on climate, communities, and our economy,” the lawmakers write.

The fossil fuel industry is proposing a massive expansion of domestic LNG infrastructure and export capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast. If approved, this buildout would have significant negative impacts on the climate, the health and safety of frontline communities, and consumer energy costs. Currently, DOE does not adequately assess how proposed LNG export projects would affect these critical issues. Moreover, the agency does not meaningfully solicit — let alone incorporate — public input when determining whether these proposed projects are actually in the public interest.

It is long past time for DOE to modernize how it determines whether the climate, environmental justice, and consumer cost impacts of LNG exports are in everyday Americans’ best interest. Given the growing evidence that LNG exports are already driving up domestic energy costs, as well as analysis showing that climate pollution from all existing and proposed LNG export terminals would be equivalent to 681 coal plants or 548 million gasoline-powered cars annually, the agency must change how it assesses whether these projects are approved. 

In addition to Merkley, this letter is also cosigned by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

In addition to Huffman, Barragán, and McClellan the letter is signed by Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Greg Casar (D-TX-35), Sean Casten (D-IL-06), Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO-05), Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), Jasmine Crockett (D-TX-30), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-10), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), Daniel Goldman (D-NY-10), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA-37), Ann Kuster (D-NH-02), Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), Mike Levin (D-CA-49), Seth Magaziner (D-RI-02), James McGovern (D-MA-02), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-12), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), Katie Porter (D-CA-47), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Robert Scott (D-VA-03), Mark Takano (D-CA-39), Shri Thanedar (D-MI-13), Dina Titus (D-NV-01), Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15), Juan Vargas (D-CA-52), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-07), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AT LARGE), Antonio Cardenas (D-CA-29), Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), Delia Ramirez (D-IL-03), Sara Jacobs (D-CA-51), Dwight Evans (D-PA-03), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01), Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24), Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), Jesús Garcia (D-IL-04), Andrea Salinas (D-OR-06), Judy Chu (D-CA-28), Betty McCollum (D-MN-04), Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), Summer Lee (D-PA-12), and Val Hoyle (D-OR-04).