Wyden Leads Sharp Debate Over Natural Gas Export

Feb 13, 2013

Should the U.S. export its abundant supply of shale gas? Oregon Senator Ron Wyden tackled that question in a hearing today. It’s his first since he took over chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Amelia Templeton of EarthFix reports.

The hearing sparked a lively debate. Andrew Liveris, Chairman of the Dow Chemical Company, argued for limits on natural gas exports. Liveris said U.S. manufacturers need the chemicals in natural gas to make everything from fertilizer to paint to laptops.

Liveris: “America’s natural gas bounty is more than a simple commodity. It’s a once in a generation opportunity for America to export advanced products, not just BTUs.”

But several witnesses spoke in favor of natural gas exports. They told the senators exports could help American allies in Europe and reduce the demand for natural gas from Russia.

The Department of Energy is reviewing 16 proposals for terminals and pipelines that would export natural gas, including two in Oregon.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio