Letter: Consumer advocates urge DOE to align its gas export policy with the public interest

U.S. PIRG and six other consumer advocacy organizations signed a letter on Thursday to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm, urging the agency to revamp its policy for approving gas exports.

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Although DOE is required to only authorize gas exports if they are “not inconsistent with the public interest,” it has done so using faulty assumptions about impacts to consumers. It also ignored a petition in 2013 by environmental organizations to revamp its gas export authorization policy with a rulemaking. 

As a result the U.S. has been allowed to go from zero LNG exports before 2016 to the world’s largest gas exporter.

Regarding the harms posed to consumers, the letter states:

“It is not consistent with the public interest to allow a handful of LNG companies and financial traders to engage in unregulated price gouging while European and American households struggle to make ends meet.”

The letter also points out DOE’s faulty assumption, “that families’ investments in natural gas producers and exporters generates household income in excess of what is paid in energy bills.” 

As U.S. PIRG’s Climate Financial Reform campaign highlights, investments in fossil fuels actually put investors at risk of meaningful losses as the world moves away from fossil energy and the value of those projects eventually plummets.

The letter was led by Public Citizen and signed by Alliance for Affordable Energy, Citizens Action Coalition, National Community Action Foundation, National Energy Assistance Directors Association, TURN-The Utility Reform Network, and U.S. PIRG.

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Mike Litt

Director, Consumer Campaign, PIRG

Mike directs U.S. PIRG’s national campaign to protect consumers on Wall Street and in the financial marketplace by defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and works for stronger privacy protections and corporate accountability in the wake of the Equifax data breach. Mike lives in Washington, D.C.

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