Increasing LNG exports will benefit manufacturers, their workers and the entire American economy. Arguments by opponents to free trade like Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that energy exports would do otherwise have been disproven in studies by every credible economist in the country. Again and again, experts find that granting licenses to export LNG would result in a net economic gain, including the official study done by the Department of Energy.
Just last week, NERA Economic Consulting, the firm that performed the analysis for the Department of Energy, updated its original study with the most current data available. It found that “LNG exports provide net economic benefits in all the scenarios investigated, and the greater the level of exports, the greater the benefits.” NERA concluded, “There is no support for the concern that LNG exports, even in the unlimited export case, will obstruct a chemicals or manufacturing renaissance in the United States.”
We are, indeed, in the midst of a manufacturing comeback, fueled by our abundant energy resources. Exporting LNG is a critical part of this comeback, with each $10 billion export facility creating manufacturing jobs across the supply chain during construction and operation. In addition, experts have found not only will we have enough natural gas at stable prices to fuel domestic manufacturing while also supporting LNG exports, but we will also still come out on top.
Furthermore, Sen. Markey’s proposal to restrict U.S. exports is contrary to the international rules that the United States helped establish some 40 years ago. Export restrictions, like those on LNG, are prohibited by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and according to a recent report by former WTO Appellate Body Chairman James Bacchus, these delays and restrictions may be running afoul of our treaty obligations.
A New York Times editorial recently made a strong point about the importance of energy in fostering the United States’ national security. We are deeply concerned about recent events overseas as manufacturers have employees across the globe, including in Eastern Europe. We are working closely with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to safeguard manufacturing employees and manufacturers’ investments around the world.
Getting our energy policy right is not just a domestic imperative, but it also has important national security implications. Like the New York Times and many policymakers on Capitol Hill, the NAM believes that it is in our national interest—and in the interest of our allies—that the United States immediately accelerates the review process of pending LNG export terminal applications. With an expedited review, the Administration would send a strong signal to the Russian Federation, our NATO allies, our trading partners and the rest of the world that energy exports matter and are a critical tool of American foreign policy.
Aric Newhouse is Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations for the National Association of Manufacturers.