Industrial groups: This pace of natural gas export approvals is moving dangerously quickly, or something

Yes, because the four total permit applications to export natural gas to countries with which we do not already have specialized free-trade agreements that the Obama administration has approved in the five years of their tenure is just much-too-much of a breakneck bureaucratic speed, never mind the almost two dozen other applications still waiting in line. We should probably arbitrarily slow down that pace even further, just to be on the safe side. …So argue the chemical and manufacturing interests that would prefer to keep natural gas prices artificially low even at the expense of job- and wealth-creation for all Americans, anyway:

Some large manufacturers that use natural gas say the department is moving too quickly to approve gas exports, pushing the United States into a “danger zone” that could raise prices and harm the economy. …

Industry groups, meanwhile, say the administration is moving too slowly, with just one of nearly two dozen proposed LNG export terminals given final approval in the past two years. Four other projects have received conditional backing.

“The Department of Energy’s slow-walk of LNG export licenses violates our trade obligations” and could cause the U.S. to lose billions of dollars in the global gas market, said Margo Thorning, director of the Act on LNG campaign, an advocacy group that supports gas exports. …

 Major companies, including Dow Chemical Co., aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. and steelmaker Nucor Corp., are working together as members of America’s Energy Advantage to limit exports. The group argues that the Energy Department has no legal standards for approving exports and is using a flawed study to support its finding that such projects are in the public interest.

Puh-lease. The ostensibly “flawed” study to which these groups are referring is the one the DOE commissioned on the net economic impact that allowing greater free trade would have on the United States — but the only thing “flawed” about it is that it concluded doing so would be a gigantic economic win, much to these industrial interests’ chagrin.

The White House, most fortunately, has at least kept an open mind about allowing for more natural gas exports as well as the possibility of lifting the crude-oil export ban, and they just announced a new executive “Quadrennial Review” to examine and update America’s energy infrastructure that proponents hope the administration will shortly use to start finding reasons to indeed open up the oil and gas industry to the wider economic benefits of the global market (although, the flip side of that is that I’m sure they will also use it to justify their anti-coal and renewables agendas too, so… wash).