The Obama administration opened the door to a new era of U.S. energy exports on Friday, approving the first liquefied natural gas project since the start of a heated debate over how best to benefit from the shale energy boom.
The Energy Department’s approval of unrestricted natural gas exports from Freeport LNG’s Quintana Island, Texas, terminal ends nearly a two-year pause in its review of export applications as the administration addressed concerns that sending unlimited amounts of domestic gas abroad could harm US manufacturers.
While the approval had been widely expected after growing signals that President Barack Obama supported exports, the timing of the decision just one day after the Senate approved a new Energy Department secretary was a surprise. Many observers had expected the administration would wait until Ernest Moniz had settled into his new role before moving ahead.
Joseph F. Barone