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February 4, 2019

Natural Gas Is Important – Make Your Voice Heard In Congress

Companies’ ability to gain approval for natural gas infrastructure projects is slowing. As readers know, natural gas pipelines and LNG export terminal projects – which help sustain thousands of metals industry jobs – cannot go forward without approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is comprised of five commissioners, three from the political party in the White House and two from the other major party. Currently there is one vacancy on the FERC, which leaves it with a 2-2 deadlock status and potentially unable to approve projects.

The Trump administration soon will send its nominee for the open seat to the U.S. Senate for confirmation and the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), which MSCI is a member of, has asked that interested individuals and companies send letters to their home state senators asking them to urge Senate leadership (Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer) to make this nomination a top priority for confirmation once it is submitted. EEIA has offered a template letter that individuals may use to contact their senators. Click here to find contact information for all U.S. senators.)

This issue matters to the metals supply chain. Without the ability to reach consensus on the FERC, a major LNG export project in Louisiana that was scheduled for FERC vote on Jan. 22 was taken off the agenda. According to the EEIA, that project would generate about $6 billion of construction and 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of upstream production, with at least 10,000 construction and supply chain jobs on the line.

That’s just one project. Twelve major US LNG export projects are scheduled for FERC decision during 2019, with six scheduled for the first six months. Seven major pipelines that would supply feeder gas to these projects are also up for decision during 2019. In total these projects represent investment of more than $90 billion in construction and more than 100,000 jobs.