- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unsurprisingly, an oil-and-gas company consultant who works for an oil-funded institute vehemently opposes my efforts to prevent one-fifth of America’s natural gas from being exported to China, Latin America and Europe (“Democrats’ dumbest new energy idea,” Commentary, Tuesday).

In his Op-Ed, Bernard Weinstein essentially acknowledges my point: If America allows natural gas exports to go forward, then U.S. industrial, commercial and residential consumers of natural gas will pay more. According to the Energy Information Agency, approval of just the first eight pending applications for natural gas export terminals could result in a 54 percent increase in domestic natural gas prices. That de facto export tax on our nation’s businesses and families would be a self-inflicted wound, cutting into economic growth and family budgets.

Low-price natural gas is fueling an American manufacturing renaissance that’s created nearly 500,000 jobs in the past two years. For industries like chemicals, plastics and fertilizer, natural gas can constitute up to 90 percent of the cost of production. Those companies are increasingly locating here because American natural gas is now seven times cheaper than it is in Asia and four times less expensive than it is in Europe. Using our natural gas here at home in manufacturing is a value-adding, job-creating approach that can generate 10 times greater economic impact compared to simply selling our natural gas abroad.

Exporting America’s natural gas is not in our national security interest or our economic interest at this time. This natural gas produced on public lands is a resource owned by the American people, and I think it is best used in America where in can help fuel a resurgence of our manufacturing and our economy.

REP. EDWARD J. MARKEY

Massachusetts Democrat

Washington