U.S. exports of natural gas would hurt Americans

May 17, 2013

Charles Lane’s May 14 column, “Markey’s out-of-date gas plan” criticizing my energy policies, must have been music to the ears of big oil and gas companies. But Mr. Lane is tone-deaf to American consumers and to manufacturers fighting to create jobs.

I support an American energy system that is cheaper and cleaner and that makes our economy more competitive. Exporting America’s oil and gas resources has the potential to set us back on all fronts.

Natural gas prices in Asia are five times what they are here. Low-priced natural gas gives America a competitive advantage. It keeps utility bills lower for families and businesses. It helps us switch from dirty coal to cleaner-burning natural gas. Buses and trucks are increasingly using domestic natural gas instead of foreign oil. Low-priced natural gas is attracting billions of dollars in investment in manufacturing and can create 1 million new jobs in industries like chemicals and steel.

I’ve asked the Energy Department to carefully consider the broader public interest before permitting large-scale exports. Every study that has looked at natural gas exporting has concluded that domestic prices will go up, possibly by 50 percent or more.

Oil and gas companies are clearly reaping great financial benefits from increased domestic production. America’s consumers and manufacturers should, too.

Edward J. Markey, Washington

The writer, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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