House bill would allow U.S. to export natural gas to Ukraine, Europe

Amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would expedite the Department of Energy’s approval process for U.S. liquid natural gas exports.

Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas in the world and supplies European nations using pipelines that run through Ukraine. Gazprom, Russia’s state-run natural gas company, recently announced it would no longer provide natural gas to Ukraine at a discounted rate.

Russia previously cut off natural gas to Ukraine and other European countries during conflicts in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

“President Putin and the Russian regime are using their dominance of the European natural gas market to flex their muscles and expand their influence,” Gardner, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said. “European nations are clamoring for a resource that is abundant in Colorado, but current law restricts our ability to sell it to them. This bill allows America to meet the needs of our allies, while creating economic opportunity and good jobs here in Colorado.”

The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act would speed up the approval process for all liquid natural gas export applications that are currently pending. Unlike Gardner’s bill, similar legislation introduced in the Senate would require companies with existing applications to re-file them.

The United States does not currently export natural gas, but the DoE has begun issuing permits for American companies to start doing so in 2015.