GOP Senators, Fueled by Industry Cash, Propose Bill to Expedite Small Scale LNG Exports
By Steve Horn
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have introduced a bill to fast-track the regulatory process for the export of small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The bill, titled "Small Scale LNG Access Act," was introduced on Oct. 18 and calls for amending the "Natural Gas Act to expedite approval of exports of small volumes of natural gas." The proposed legislation follows in the footsteps of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) proposed rule which would assume that all U.S. small-scale exports of LNG, with the gas mostly obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), is in the "public interest" as defined by the Natural Gas Act.
The public commenting period for the DOE's proposed small-scale LNG rule ended on Oct. 16, with 81 comments posted on Regulations.gov. DOE, alongside the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), oversees the regulatory process for LNG exports and the industry has long complained that the process is too onerous.
"We write in support of the Department of Energy's (DOE) proposed rule to expedite the approval of small-scale exports of natural gas," they wrote. "We appreciate this proposal and the series of steps the Department has taken to decrease burdensome regulations and increase the United States' energy security. The current permitting process for LNG export facilities is expensive, and small-scale projects often are not cost effective under current conditions."
The Rubio-Cassidy bill also calls for small-scale LNG exports to be considered by default in the "public interest," as defined in Section 3(c) of the Natural Gas Act.
'Nothing Small Scale'
Small-scale LNG does not refer necessarily to the actual amount of LNG which will be exported from the site, but rather the size of the tankers carrying the natural gas. Meg Gentle, CEO of Tellurian, said so herself in a March interview.
"So people have started talking about small-scale and mid-scale and we've sort of chuckled at that. As you would imagine, there is nothing small scale about LNG," Gentle said. "It's just making the refrigerator component itself a little bit more modular, repeatable and standardized. But we're still using the largest [General Electric] turbines, the largest storage tanks ever built."
In June, Cassidy also introduced the License Natural Gas (LNG) Now Act, which calls for expedited permitting for conventional large-scale LNG export projects. On the U.S. House side, Cassidy's bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), whose district sits in a major planned hub for the LNG industry.
Rubio and Cassidy both represent states which have companies interested in jump-starting the so-called small-scale LNG business. For Rubio, the company Eagle LNG has plans to export LNG from a small-scale facility in Jacksonville, Florida and Carib Energy intends to export LNG from Martin County, Florida. Cassidy's state, meanwhile, is home to Cheniere's Sabine Pass LNG terminal and Tellurian's planned Driftwood LNG site.
Exxon, Koch Connection
In January, Eagle LNG received DOE authorization to export small-scale LNG from its site in Maxville, Florida, in September. Eagle LNG is owned by Ferus, Inc. and financed by Energy & Minerals Group. John Raymond, son of former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond, serves as the CEO and co-founder of the Energy & Minerals Group. Lee Raymond also serves as a senior partner at the firm.
"As a streamlined and nimble operation, we're able to respond quickly to the changing tides within the industry and swiftly develop solutions to any challenge, but the valuable resources and years of experience that Ferus holds give us the ability to turn our visions into realities," Eagle LNG explained of its business model.
"Combining the know-how of the Ferus group of companies with the financial strength and commitment of our sponsor, the Energy & Minerals Group, Eagle LNG is unmatched in its capability to provide solutions to clients considering LNG for fueling and small-scale utility requirements."
In June, Eagle LNG signed an agreement with ExxonMobil and the Jacksonville, Florida-based Crowley Maritime Corporation "to collaborate on the development of LNG as a marine fuel." Crowley also owns Carib Energy, the first company ever to receive a small-scale LNG export permit from the DOE.
"ExxonMobil will provide its technical support and expertise to help the parties carry out safe bunkering operations and sell LNG bunker fuel to vessel operators," explained the press release. "Eagle LNG Partners will supply the LNG and will design, build, and operate small-scale production and storage facilities as well as coordinate land-based LNG transportation. Crowley will provide bunker logistics and ensure safe and reliable operations."
Rubio has taken over $1.1 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during his U.S. Senate career, which began in 2010. During his 2016 re-election run, Rubio took $10,000 from ExxonMobil, $5,000 from the American Petroleum Institute, $5,000 from Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), $1,000 from Cheniere, and $7,500 from American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).
Rubio also received $2,700 from Crowley for his 2016 race, while taking $68,340 from Koch Industries throughout his political career, the latter a company which has its own vested interest in small-scale LNG exports. Koch subsidiary Flint Hills Resources received a permit to ship batches of small-scale LNG from the DOE in 2016.
'Unleash American Energy'
Like Rubio, Cassidy also became a senator in 2010 and has taken $62,200 in campaign contributions from Koch Industries throughout his Senate career. Cassidy received $3,500 from Cheniere during his 2016 re-election race, $2,000 from IPAA for his 2010 race, and $5,500 total from Exxon during both of his Senate races.
As another sign of his commitment to the cause, Cassidy asked Perry if the DOE intended to expedite the regulatory process for LNG exports in questions sent to the agency in July regarding its proposed 2017-2018 budget.
In response, DOE affirmed its commitment to LNG and exporting it in a robust way.
"Ultimately, the market will determine how much U.S. LNG export capacity is built and utilized," wrote DOE. "In addition to promptly reviewing LNG export applications as part of our regulatory responsibility, DOE is working with the Administration, industry, other Federal and state government agencies, and our international partners to help U.S. companies maximize opportunities in the global LNG market."
Both Rubio and Cassidy discussed explicitly how the industry will reap the benefits from the move in their respective states in the press release announcing the bill's introduction.
"Expedited approval of small-scale natural gas exports would strengthen an emerging sector of Florida's economy," Rubio stated. "In addition to the economic advantages for Florida, this measure would bolster our existing ties with Caribbean and Latin American nations while ensuring that bad actors in the region, including Cuba and Venezuela, do not reap its benefits."
Cassidy echoed Rubio in discussing how the bill's passage would impact his own state, Louisiana, and the oil and gas industry located within it.
"This bill promotes the growth of American natural gas, creating well-paying jobs with good benefits for hardworking families in Louisiana," said Cassidy. "The faster approval of small-scale natural gas shipments will create American jobs, improve Caribbean energy security, and lower greenhouse gas emissions."
The Trump administration has also made its stance clear on small-scale LNG and its rationale behind the proposed DOE rule.
"The Trump administration is focused on finding ways to unleash American energy and providing a reliable and environmentally friendly fuel to our trading partners who face unique energy infrastructure challenges. The Department of Energy and this Administration are wholeheartedly committed to strengthening the energy security of the United States and our allies," Perry said in a September press release announcing the proposed rule.
Reposted with permission from our media associate DeSmogBlog.
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By Julia Conley
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By Beth Ann Mayer
Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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