So far, the administration has readily approved natural gas exports to nations with which the U.S. has a trade agreement. It has been reluctant, however, to do the same for nations without such a pact.
Wyden wants to examine all natural gas export deals — even those that the administration typically approves. Wyden believes exports could harm the nation's ability to achieve energy independence, combat pollution and preserve the environment, and improve the economic competitiveness of American manufacturers. Wyden might seek to make fossil fuel exports a key issue next Congress if Democrats retain the Senate, an outcome that would likely make him chairman of Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The issue hits home for Wyden. Five proposed terminals in Oregon and Washington would export coal to Asia, and the Pacific Northwest could serve as a launching point for natural gas exports as well. Wyden and other Democrats fear the U.S. is exporting greenhouse gas emissions along with the fuel, making it harder to combat global climate change. (The Hill, 11/2/2012)