Joined by the crisis in Ukraine, U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have set three hearings this week that look to increase liquefied natural gas exports to weaken Russia’s influence on the supply fueling Europe. The hearings come on the heels of a compelling editorial, “Using U.S. natural gas as an energy wedge against Russia,” published in Saturday’s Washington Post.

The Post editorial begins:

Debate has raged over whether the United States can fight Vladimir Putin on the Russian president’s most favorable ground: energy politics. It can, and it should, particularly because there’s an obvious path forward that coincides with the United States’ — indeed, the world’s — economic interests. That path is lifting irrational restrictions on exports and making it easier to build natural gas export terminals.

Read it here.

“The U.S. has a responsibility to stand up for freedom and democracy around the globe, and we have a responsibility to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion,” Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement March 4. “One immediate step the president can and should take is to dramatically expedite the approval of U.S. exports of natural gas.”
 
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Energy and Power will consider a bill Tuesday from Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., that would force the Energy Department to approve all pending applications for licenses to export LNG, The Hill reported Monday.

Landrieu M140319 0811 RMay
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is holding a Tuesday hearing titled “Importing Energy, Exporting Jobs — Can it be reversed?”

Also on Tuesday, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will hold a hearing titled “Importing Energy, Exporting Jobs — Can it be reversed?” Landrieu said in a statement that the focus of the hearing will be how the U.S. can responsibly export natural gas to create high-paying jobs and turn the country into an "energy superpower."

Last week, along with eight other high-ranking officials, the Louisiana Democrat was sanctioned by the Russian government. Calling Russia's action a "badge of honor," Landrieu vowed that the sanction would not stop her from pushing for an increase in energy exports around the world.
 
Landrieu says witnesses are coming from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, NERA Economic Consulting, Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
 
The last of the three hearings is Wednesday, when the House Committee on Foreign Affairs meets to discuss how natural gas exports could impact Russia.

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