Washington: A group of 20 U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers has writetn a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu urging him to thoroughly evaluate the environmental impacts of liquefied natural gas exports before handing out more permits.
"We are concerned that exporting more LNG would lead to greater hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' activity thus threatening the health of local residents and jobs," said the letter from the 20 Democrats, led by Jared Polis of Colorado and Maurice Hinchey of New York.
The lawmakers requested that the Department of Energy prepare an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act to assess whether exports would increase risks from gas extraction.
"Even though exporting nearly one-third of our domestic gas production certainly constitutes a major federal action, the DOE has not yet conducted an EIS," the letter said.
"Such a review would inform your agency's decision and address the environmental and health impacts in our communities that may result from the opportunity to increase LNG exports," the lawmakers added
On the other side of the debate, a group of Western lawmakers on Monday wrote to Chu urging him to quickly finish a study on the macroeconomic impacts of LNG exports and approve additional export permits.
DOE has received applications to export a combined 27.4 Bcf/d of gas as LNG to free trade agreement countries, and to export a combined 19.7 Bcf/d of gas to non-FTA countries, according to its website.
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