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Fear of Exports?

Article by Matthew Denhart May 23, 2013 //   2 minute read

Since when has the U.S. been afraid of exports? Since now, apparently.

A decade ago the U.S. worried about not having enough natural gas to meet its needs and therefore had to import gas from abroad. Today, thanks to new hydraulic fracturing technologies, the country is awash in natural gas and has the opportunity to be a major exporter of the commodity. Exports are good for the economy, and the U.S. suddenly holds a major comparative advantage in the area of natural gas. Capitalizing on this opportunity would be a boom for the U.S. economy, and allowing exports seems like a no-brainer anyway.

But a vocal opposition has lined up to block exports, and companies are having an exceedingly difficult time receiving permits from the Department of Energy to export gas. Jim Glassman has all the details in a recent column for Forbes.

What are the costs to economic growth of all this regulatory red tape?

This is a major question of concern for us here at the 4% Growth Project. To address it, we are convening a full-day conference on energy regulation and economic growth this September at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. We will consider the cost to growth from the regulation of natural-gas exports, but will also address many other forms of regulation that threaten the growth potential of the energy industry. In advance of the conference we will publish a series of white papers to our Web site. Stay tuned. This is a topic of great importance not just for the energy industry, but for the entire U.S. economy as well.