A group representing some of the largest consumers of energy in the country is questioning the legality of Trump’s energy dominance agenda, which it argues is exporting natural gas to the detriment of the nation’s economy and security.
The Industrial Energy Consumers of America, which includes chemical giants Dow and DuPont, sent a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday asking the Trump administration to stop approvals of any new natural gas export licenses.
The reason, the group pointed out in the letter, is based on the Energy Information Administration’s latest annual energy outlook that shows natural gas demand in the lower 48 states will consume 69 percent of all known U.S. recoverable resources. But the administration is on track to export that much in just a few decades.
“The U.S. is consuming and exporting natural gas at a faster rate that we are finding new natural gas resources,” the letter stated.
“IECA and its member companies are highly supportive and grateful to the Trump administration for the support of the manufacturing sector,” the letter read. “However, on this issue, we see a great policy inconsistency that is probably driven by the view that our natural gas resources are large.”
Natural gas reserves are vast, the group concedes, “but not relative to the size of our domestic consumption.”
It pointed out that the Department of Energy’s export approvals, which are expected to equal 70 percent of all U.S. natural gas demand over the next three decades, cannot be sustained and “cannot possibly be in the ‘public interest’ under the Natural Gas Act, which raises the question of the legality of further LNG export approvals.
The Natural Gas Act requires the Energy Department to conduct analyses to gauge if the exports would harm the U.S. economy.
The group is not sure if the studies that are being done are thorough enough as the administration ramps up energy exports.
“Excessive LNG exports pose a real threat to domestic manufacturing, manufacturing jobs, and the economy long-term,” the letter warns. “We urge a measured approach and metrics to determine public interest which will guide informed short and long-term decision making, and the establishment of prudent consumer safeguards.”