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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Energy Department OKs natural gas export project -- By Zack Colman, The Washington Examiner

The liquefied natural gas tanker Excelsior arrives at a Gulf Coast terminal Tuesday, April 15, 2008, in Houston. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Steve Campbell)The Energy Department approved a U.S. terminal to ship natural gas to nations without a free-trade agreement Monday, a move that comes amid escalating Washington pressure to expedite such projects.

The DOE determined a proposal to export 0.8 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas per day for up to 20 years from the Jordan Cove project in Coos Bay, Ore., was in the public interest. The metric invites greater department scrutiny for proposals to export to non-free trade nations and is at the center of evolving discussions on Capitol Hill.

The department took the action — the seventh it has approved — as lawmakers from both parties are calling on it to more quickly green light more export terminals as potential relief to Ukraine and other Central and Eastern European countries that rely on Russia for natural gas. Committees in the House and the Senate are scheduled to hold a combined three hearings on the topic this week.

"The opponents of the Jordan Cove application have not demonstrated that the requested authorization will be inconsistent with the public interest and finds that the exports proposed in this application are likely to yield net economic benefits to the United States," the department said in its approval.

But the Jordan Cove project, which was next up for review in the Energy Department queue, is one of the least likely export terminals to get built, industry experts told the Washington Examiner.

Jordan Cove, unlike the other DOE-approved projects, is a "greenfield" endeavor, meaning it's an entirely new project, compared with retrofitting an existing import terminal like most other proposals.

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