WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) this week joined her colleagues in introducing the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act, which would eliminate onerous regulations that discourage liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade, and increase LNG exports to the over 160 countries in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The legislation offers an effective vehicle to fortify our nation’s energy security, reduce emissions at home and abroad, and strengthen America’s strategic and economic relationship with our overseas partners.

“It’s critical we continue to look for ways to grow West Virginia’s energy industry,” Senator Capito said. “This legislation would expand international markets for natural gas produced in West Virginia and support American foreign policy by reducing international dependence on hostile sources of energy like Russia and Iran.”

Specifically, the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act, authored by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would:

  • Amend the Natural Gas Act to expedite non-FTA export permits. By doing so, applications to export LNG to certain non-Free Trade Agreement countries are treated the same as free trade countries and “deemed to be consistent with the public interest.”
  • Retain current law for restricted nations. Any nation subject to sanctions or trade restrictions is specifically excluded, and the president or Congress can specifically exclude any nation from expedited approval.


Despite the pandemic, U.S. LNG exports reached all-time highs in November and December 2020, and the U.S. remains a net exporter of natural gas. U.S. LNG was exported to 38 countries, also a record.

Historically, the review process for an application to export LNG to non-FTA countries can take years. While the previous administration greatly reduced the processing time for non-FTA permits, Congress must provide greater certainty and help ensure that the review process is not arbitrarily again lengthened.

Importantly, the U.S. has one of the lowest flaring intensity levels in the world and methane emissions from U.S. natural gas production have decreased nearly 25 percent since 1990—all while natural gas production grew more than 70 percent.

A 2019 Department of Energy report conducted by the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) concluded that U.S. LNG exports resulted in reduced emissions abroad.

Read the full text of the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act here.

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