The Trans-Pacific Partnership and LNG exports

The same U.S. House subcommittee that wants to export liquid natural gas is pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The two subcommittee members are from Alabama and Florida represent counties in the paths of two Spectra methane pipelines.

Ted Poe (R TX-02) of Houston, Chairman of the SUBCOMMITTEE ON TERRORISM, NONPROLIFERATION, AND TRADE of the COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES spelled out the connection to natural gas in the panel discussion for the hearing on The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Outlook and Opportunities,

Hopefully, we will change that and become an exporter, especially of natural gas.

This meshes with his remark hearing on natural gas exports:

The Department of Energy has not approved an application to export to a country we don’t have a Free Trade Agreement with in 2 years.

Presumably he meant FERC, which bills itself as an independent agency. The point remains the same: Chairman Poe wants more free trade agreements for more LNG exports. In his opening statement to the TPP hearing he spelled out that he considers the Trans-Pacific Partnership to be a free trade agreement:

I am a strong supporter of promoting United States exports and increasing trade. To put it simply, I am a free trader. With unemployment 7.6 percent, we should be doing everything we can to create jobs for Americans, in America. Free trade agreements like the ones we have with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea grow jobs in the United States, help our economy get back on track and strengthen friendships abroad. Open trade is good policy and it makes sense.

Right now, we are in the middle of negotiating a new agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the TPP, as an opportunity for the United States to expand its trade network in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. TPP will open trade between the United States and 11 other countries. This would make it America’s largest free trade agreement.

He also spelled out which countries he wants to export to:

Houston will be able to build upon its close ties with Canada, Japan, Mexico and Singapore and the well developed, already emerging trade relationships with Malaysia, Australia, and Chile.

America’s other major shipping hubs like Los Angeles, Long Beach which my colleague, Mr. Lowenthal, represents in his district, will see a lot of growth from TPP as well. The United States needs to be involved in trade agreements with these countries, otherwise, we may find ourselves shut out of a booming market. The United States is not the only player in the international trading market. The European Union, for example, has already negotiated agreements with Canada, India, and Japan. And China, Japan, and South Korea have also been having trade talks among themselves.

Nobody from Georgia is on that subcommittee, but in addition to Ted Yoho (R FL-03) of Gainesville, Florida, who represents all the counties on the proposed pipeline path from the Georgia border down to Gainesville, there is Mo Brooks (R AL-05) of Huntsville, Alabama. Brooks doesn’t represent counties on the Sabal Trail pipeline path, but he does represent counties on the proposed path of Spectra’s proposed Renaissance Project pipeline from Tennessee through north Alabama and north Georgia past Atlanta. Unlike Chairman Poe, neither Yoho nor Brooks has accepted massive fossil fuel company campaign contributions.

There is video and a transcript on the subcommittee’s website.