By Sun Herald, Biloxi/Gulfport
Sen. Thad Cochran has joined a bipartisan effort to expand natural gas exports from the United States to its allies, a proposal that makes sense from a national security standpoint and one that could be a significant boost for the Coast economy.
Cochran is cosponsoring legislation that would require the Secretary of Energy to allow exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas, to NATO allies and Japan. Under current law, the energy secretary is required to approve exports only to countries that have free trade agreements with the United States that encompass trade in natural gas.
“It makes sense to make our natural gas resources available to support our allies and to strengthen U.S. national security. That is not automatically the case today,” Cochran said. “The intent of this legislation also makes sense economically by expanding the market for our natural gas. It is my hope that it will create new opportunities for these energy interests in Mississippi.”
Cochran noted that Mississippi has a regasification and LNG storage facility in Pascagoula. In addition, oil and gas exploration in Mississippi has picked up in recent years.
As noted in the editorial from the Economist printed below, facilities all along the Gulf of Mexico are idle due to the nation’s restrictive policies.
This legislation could help put those investments to use, not only by expanding exports to NATO allies and Japan, but to other nations if the exports will promote the national security of the United States.