At a development forum that ended his three-day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, Obama held out the prospect that surging supplies of natural gas in the United States could be sold in the area to help reduce its energy costs.
Obama's Energy Department is to decide in the coming months, possibly this summer, whether to approve more than two dozen applications for natural gas exports to companies in countries that do not currently have a free-trade agreement with the United States. It is one of the first big energy decisions he faces early in his second term. Obama made a case for taking the step. The United States, riding a surge of natural gas production, is likely to be a net natural gas exporter as soon as 2020, he said.
He said he discussed with Central American presidents at a dinner on Friday night how U.S. natural gas can be used by the region as a bridging mechanism to relieve its energy demands until alternative energy sources can be increased. "I've got to make an executive decision broadly about whether or not we export liquefied natural gas at all," Obama said. Helping Central America would be a factor in the decision-making, he added.
U.S. companies that produce the gas feel the supply is more than adequate, but some U.S. businesses oppose large-scale liquefied natural gas exports out of concerns it will dramatically increase the price of the energy in the United States. Environmentalists have raised concerns as well about the impact of increased production on the U.S. environment.”
So the President may use the excuse of helping the poor as a reason to export natural gas. Works for me. Of course long term we still believe in the natural gas story. Not only will it help the poor, it will reduce greenhouse gasses.