Mr. Chairman, 5 years ago, companies were building terminals to import natural gas at the cost of billions of dollars because analysts agreed that the United States economy was going to need natural gas from overseas. Today that scenario has flipped on its head, and import terminals are dormant. The Department of Energy has 19 applications waiting to get permission to export U.S. natural gas.
Thanks to technology breakthroughs, U.S. natural gas reserves have climbed 72 percent since 2000. We have more gas than we can use here in the United States. Mr. Chairman, we have the best ice cream company in the world in Brenham, Texas, and their motto is: ``We eat all we can, and we sell the rest.'' That is what our motto should be with natural gas. We should use all we can and sell the rest everywhere in the world that wants to buy it.
As chairman of the Trade Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, I did a hearing on more LNG exports in April. Every witness at the hearing, from the union representatives to a professor, agreed that we should export natural gas. We have too much gas and our allies have too little.
And then there is Russia. Russia has an energy stranglehold over Europe, including Ukraine. Just this past week, Russia announced it was going to require payments up front from Ukraine. Russia has already increased the price of natural gas and even stopped sending natural gas to Ukraine.
Isn't that lovely?
Ukraine needs access to natural gas down the road, and that could be the United States. We need to compete with Gazprom. That could be the United States. That is how we can help thwart Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.
Technically, the United States can export natural gas, but the approval process is slow as molasses. It is the government. The government takes too long to make a decision, and the Department of Energy wraps companies in red tape. Many times we can lose these natural gas contracts to our competitors.So I support this legislation. I thank the gentleman for bringing it to the floor.
And that's just the way it is.