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US Senate Seeks to Expedite LNG Exports in Energy Modernization Act

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A major US energy reform, which the Senate is expected to consider on Wednesday, aims to speed up the export of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the world market, according to the bill.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The new energy legislation, the Energy Modernization Act of 2015, would expedite the regulatory process that often holds up the development of LNG export facilities due to environmental and other legal hurdles.

Under the bill, in an effort to speed up the permitting process, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz would face a 45-day time limit to authorize or reject new projects requiring federal oversight.

Last week, Senate Energy Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski described the bill as a means to "expedite liquefied natural gas exports to boost our economy and the security of our allies."

US lawmakers have emphasized the geopolitical importance of LNG exports, arguing it will help European allies decrease dependence on Russian energy imports. The cost of shipping natural gas from the United States to Europe remains high and requires sizeable infrastructure investments.

The first US LNG export terminal, Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass project, will come online later in 2016. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, there are more than two dozen proposed LNG export projects on the books waiting approval. The terminals are largely centred along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Northwest.

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