The Edmond Sun

Local News

August 9, 2012

Congressional candidates weigh in on liquefied natural gas

EDMOND — Congressman James Lankford has joined a bipartisan group of 44 House members by asking Energy Sec. Steven Chu to facilitate the approval of liquefied natural gas facilities in the U.S. The letter was signed by 10 Democrats and 34 Republicans from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

“It is time to bring a renewed sense of urgency to the approval process for LNG facilities, which are part of a successful all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Lankford, R-Edmond. “States like Oklahoma and Texas are prime examples of the success of natural gas use in the regional energy market.”

Lankford said the federal permitting process is slowing down the ability of energy companies to distribute their products. Marketing the production of liquefied natural gas to international customers is made difficult, Lankford said.

“Without the ability to market to international customers, this could have a severe impact on production in our region,” he said.

Data from a 2011 Department of Energy report showed trillions of cubic feet of technically recoverable gas in shale bed areas across the United States. The data also suggests that production and reserves are likely to be much more.

Lankford is vying for re-election to the Congressional 5th District. He will face Democrat Tom Guild of Edmond in the Nov. 6 election, as well as two Independent candidates, Pat Martin of Jones and Norman resident Robert T. Murphy.

 The U.S. needs smart regulation, not complete deregulation, Guild said.

“We found out the disastrous consequences of the lack of reasonable regulation with the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, because there was essentially no regulation of one facet of the energy industry, not to mention the stock market crash during President Bush’s term,” Guild said.

Mothers and fathers are struggling while Congress has vacationed, he said. Some of Lankford’s constituents are working two or three jobs, money that pays for Congressional salaries of $174,000, Guild said.

“He sends out press releases instead of making the hard decisions to turn our country’s economy around,” Guild said.

Murphy said he supports the marketing of LNG, but said safeguards need to be intact to avoid fires. In the long run, fossil fuels will not be available forever, he said.

“I have been intrigued by the idea of thorium power,” Murphy said.

Thorium is similar to uranium in that it can be used to power reactors. However, thorium is not subject to a nuclear meltdown, he said, as is the case with a uranium reactor.

Murphy said he is not convinced that climate change with global warming is the result of fossil fuel consumption.

“I think we’re a nation of vast resources and I think we need to be taking advantage of all of them,” Martin said.

He said safety issues with fracking need to be investigated thoroughly. Oklahoma has done an effective job of taking care of the environment, he said.

“I think we have the ability to pursue these things in a safe, responsible manner,” Martin said.

Energy independence is linked to the nation’s economy and national security, he said. So he approaches supplying the nation’s energy needs from an all-of-the-above perspective, Martin said.

jcoburn@edmondsun.com | 341-2121

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