Energy Department finalizes rule to speed approval of small-scale natural gas exports
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a final rule Wednesday designed to speed the approvals of applications for small-scale exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), from U.S. export facilities.
“The finalization of this rule will expedite the permitting of certain small-scale exports of natural gas,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said. “The so-called ‘small-scale rule’ will further unleash American energy by reducing the regulatory burden on American businesses while also providing significant benefits to our trading partners in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.”
The rule allows DOE to grant applications to export natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries if the export is no more than 51.75 billion cubic feet per year of natural gas and qualifies for a categorical exclusion under DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.
Under the rule, applications that meet these criteria will be considered small-scale natural gas exports and deemed to be in the public interest under the Natural Gas Act.
Before this rule, DOE was required to conduct a public interest review before authorizing such exports.
House Energy Subcommittee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) praised the final rule but also urged the advancement of the Ensuring Small Scale LNG Certainty and Access Act, which would also allow for faster approval of applications under the Natural Gas Act to import or export small volumes of natural gas.
“While I’m encouraged by DOE’s final rule to streamline the process for approving small-scale shipments of LNG, it’s important to have a congressional mandate that provides more certainty to American companies that want to export to emerging markets in the Caribbean and Latin America, who are looking to modernize their electric grids and reduce their reliance on oil imports from unstable suppliers,” Upton said.
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