The following editorial appeared Thursday in the Washington Post:
For months, critics in Congress have agitated against exporting natural gas to countries where the fuel is more expensive. Recently, it seemed the Obama administration was beginning to dismiss these objections.
On May 17, the Energy Department gave a Texas company permission to export natural gas, basing its decision in part on a study it commissioned that concluded the country would benefit from expanding gas exports - in terms of its trade balance, incomes and economic growth.
In every scenario the experts examined, those benefits outweighed the potential downside - exports putting modest upward pressure on natural gas prices. In fact, the authors found, gas prices probably would rise by some 65 cents per thousand cubic feet - about 13 percent above a business-as-usual scenario and far below what Americans were paying for gas only a few years ago.
The critics may be finding more success than that announcement suggested. Last Tuesday, the Energy Department's new head, Ernest Moniz, said that he will conduct his own "review" of the available analyses before issuing any more export permits. He said that he had made a "commitment" to do so to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the chairman of the committee that considered his nomination and an opponent of gas exports.
We are confident that even-handed consideration will lead Moniz to the conclusion many experts have already embraced: that allowing the country to sell its bounty to the world will leave it and its trading partners better off.