Heritage Foundation: Natural Gas Boosts Economy, Security

The production and export of natural gas is key to our economy and foreign policy, Heritage Foundation Energy and Environment Fellow Nicolas Loris observes on the Heritage Foundation website. “Liquefied natural gas represents a unique opportunity to stimulate U.S. job growth, while bolstering our strategic position around the world,” Loris explains.

The Spark of Freedom Foundation has documented the first part of Loris’ assertion; that natural gas stimulates U.S. job growth. Natural gas power has become less expensive than coal power, which has triggered a transformation of the U.S. electricity market from one dominated by coal power.  Natural gas is now our leading power source, and with new natural gas plants replacing old coal power plants, inflation-adjusted electricity prices have declined during the past decade. Lower energy costs factor into virtually every good and service bought and traded in our economy, in addition to lowering the direct electricity bills paid by American households.

Heritage Foundation 5Loris explains in depth how American natural gas exports are also boosting our foreign policy and national security interests.

“The United States has the opportunity to bolster security relationships in many regions with energy exports, including Asia, India, and Eastern Europe,” Loris observes. “With access to energy being more secure for these allies, they will be less vulnerable to manipulation by countries such as Russia or Iran, two major suppliers of natural gas.”

According to Loris, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and many nations in Europe are heavily dependent on natural gas imports. Russia is the world’s leading exporter, which places these importing nations in a position of vulnerability to Russian foreign policy. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

“In the past half-decade, the U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of natural gas. When combined with liquefaction technology, natural gas can easily be traded across oceans,” writes Loris.

For nations like China and Japan, there are additional potential benefits. American natural gas sells for approximately half the price of Russian natural gas. Rapidly developing nations in Asia, including China and India, are struggling with heavily polluted air and seek affordable alternatives to coal power. Exporting more American natural gas will improve Asian air quality and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to bolstering the American economy and American foreign policy interests.

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