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What is really behind those international liquid gas trade bills?

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Some in Europe have an interesting take on why the U.S. oil and gas industry is meddling into the Ukrainian-Crimean-Russian crisis. Two bills were introduced in Congress that would fast track approval for massive infrastructures and overseas trade in liquid natural gas from fracking. The bills allow the gas to flow to all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). An April 10 UK Guardian article exposed the process of exploiting the Ukrainian crisis and anti-Russian hysteria to help sell American liquid natural gas abroad.

The theory is that, if the European Union could become less dependent on Russian gas, it would help in the fight against Russia's regional ambitions. The problem with such a scheme is that, while the oil and gas industry would get richer, the U.S. would see none of the wealth.

America would not get gas that was promised when domestic fracking operations were so recklessly expanded. The U.S. environment would be vastly more devastated. The taxpayers would foot the bill and suffer the environmental consequences. Finally, the required infrastructure would be massive and would cost tens of billions to construct.

Two bills actually call for fast tracking approval for expanded sales throughout the WTO. In other words, while promising to relieve dependency on Russian liquid gas, the proposed legislation comes with no guarantee the EU will ever get the gas.

Big oil and gas once promised Americans the same freedom from Middle Eastern imports if expanded fracking was allowed. Exporting to other nations was not discussed. The two bills in Congress are House Resolution 6 (H.R. 6) and Senate Bill 2083 (S. 2083).

H.R. 6 is titled the “Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act.” It is sponsored by Cory Gardner (R, Co). Govtrack gives this bill a 61 percent chance of getting past committee and a 12 percent chance of being enacted. That is only slightly better than the congressional average. Only 11 percent of bills become law.

This bill would expedite approval to export of natural gas to any World Trade Organization (WTO) member nation, not just the EU nations.

S. 2083 is called the American Job Creation and Strategic Alliances LNG Act. It is sponsored me Mark Udall (D, Co) and stands a zero percent chance of passing. This bill would do the same as the House bill, but pushes the equivalent of political gold: Job creation. Of course, most of the jobs would be temporary construction jobs.

Americans Against Fracking is one organization that will fight fast-tracking of LNG exports. The group has European counterparts who will also work to stop the plot from carrying out.

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