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posted: 7/27/2013 5:00 AM

Expedite permit process for natural gas exports

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There must be tens of thousands of Illinoisans who recognize the enormous economic benefits to be derived from the exportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States to the rest of the world. It would be nice if every one of us wrote to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and encouraged him to speed up his department's export-permit approval process.

That really isn't necessary, however, because Sen. Mark Kirk has already done so for us. In a letter cosigned with 33 other U.S. senators, Kirk thanked Secretary Moniz for his department's recent approval of a second LNG export permit and urged him to "make decisions on the remaining applications in an expeditious manner." Kirk and his colleagues emphasized the environmental and geopolitical benefits of increased gas exports, pointing out that U.S. LNG can "curtail the need for Iranian energy" and ensure secure energy supplies for "long-standing allies and strategic partners."

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Time is of the essence, however. If the permit review process were to be drawn out over a two-year period as currently anticipated, "By then, the private financing and market opportunities making these projects attractive may have dissipated," Sen. Kirk, et al. warned, "and foreign customers will be forced to turn to other suppliers. ..."

Liquefied natural gas exports will create and support thousands of jobs for American workers who are currently unemployed or underemployed -- engineering jobs, manufacturing jobs, construction jobs, support services jobs, etc. LNG exports will spur domestic gas production and increase state and federal government revenues, too, reduce our nation's trade deficit, and improve U.S. energy security. Sen. Kirk should be congratulated for passing on this vital message to Secretary Moniz. He probably wouldn't mind if we wrote our own letters, too.

Brian Kasal

State chairman

Illinois Energy Forum

Chicago

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