Senators Urge Obama to Critically Eye Gas Exports

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), along with an additional 20 senators, are urging President Obama to consider the impacts on American manufacturing and families that rely on natural gas for heat when considering approval of new natural gas export facilities. The Democrats were joined by a single Republican supporter, Susan Collins of Maine.

In a letter to the president, Stabenow, Markey, and their colleagues underscored that families in some parts of the country saw skyrocketing energy bills over the past winter, and that short supplies of natural gas and propane could be exacerbated with increased exports. They also pointed to the increase in manufacturing jobs created in the last few years, which they asserted were created, in part, due to low natural gas prices. “Aggressive, unlimited new exports of natural gas could raise prices for families and American manufacturers,” they asserted.

The letter reads in part: “Families and businesses depend on affordable and reliable supplies of natural gas. This winter many parts of the country faced tight supplies of propane and natural gas, and families were left to face high energy bills. Taking a long-term view, the United States has benefited from rising supplies and lower prices for natural gas since 2008. Thanks in part to lower natural gas prices, America’s manufacturing sector has created more than 600,000 jobs since 2010. We must ensure that we do not squander what is clearly an American competitive advantage right now for American manufacturers and for the American economy.”

The letter was signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Harken (D-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).