Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Ed Markey have introduced legislation that would ban infrastructure that is used to export liquified natural gas – the latest policy proposal that would limit American energy development and our nation’s ability to provide reliable, affordable energy to allies around the globe.
The legislation would bar the construction of natural gas compressor stations that facilitate gas exports.
Warren has been among the most aggressive presidential candidates in vowing to wean the U.S. off fossil fuels. She has pledged to end fracking for natural gas to have fossil-fuel-free electricity by 2035.
This is the latest in proposals from presidential candidates looking to prove they care most about the environment, but would actually have severe consequences – including energy shortages and higher fuel prices – that will harm American consumers.
In addition to the ban on natural gas infrastructure, candidates have said they will:
- Revoke access for the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.
- Prevent the replacement of the Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota.
- Set unrealistic goals for achieving 100 percent renewable energy.
- Ban fracking, as noted above.
These proposals will have a real-world impact for the nation as a whole, just as the United States is predicted to become energy independent in 2020 after being a net oil exporter for the first time in 75 years. Instead of scoring easy political points, elected representatives’ policy proposals should focus on realistic solutions with realistic timelines that won’t hurt American families.
Specifically looking at natural gas, its role in reducing carbon emission is widely accepted and underpinned by a steady stream of data:
- Nearly one-fifth of total U.S. emissions savings since 2010 have been the result of coal-to-gas switching, according to the analysis, according to a reportfrom the International Energy Agency (IEA).
- Globally, the IEA said more than 500 million tons of CO2 emissions have been avoided in the past decade as a result of increased use of natural gas.
- The U.S. Energy Information Administration says energy-related carbon emissions are about 13 percent below 2005 levels as a result of greater use of natural gas.
- This trend is expected to continue in 2019, with the EIA predictingnatural gas to help drive a 2 percent decrease in energy-related carbon emissions.
Additionally, the abundance of U.S. energy resources provides geopolitical benefits, as they can be shared with allies in need around the world. American energy exports can help stabilize their economies and ease cross border tensions, including on issues such as immigration, as this op-ed on Central America by GAIN Strategic Adviser Al Wynn notes:
Private investments in Honduras’ energy infrastructure would set the country on a forward path to building sustainable energy infrastructure, reliable electricity and increased security.
The United States has the resources and technical expertise to help develop infrastructure projects that will establish strong international ties in the region and foster opportunities for future investment and innovation. Boosting energy infrastructure in Honduras would generate increased investment in the country, and create jobs throughout the region. Not to mention, this infrastructure would be transporting natural gas that is used to generate electricity, light the stove, and fuel the car. With the collaboration of the public and private sector, these investments would be mutually beneficial for all nations involved.
It is important for political candidates and policymakers to take the long view at their policy proposals – and ensure they will truly benefit American consumers, both in the near and the long term.