Washington (February 5, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following response after the Department of Energy today announced they will allow the export of 0.8 billion cubic feet a day of U.S. natural gas to be exported out of New England via pipeline, to Canada, where it will then be exported to overseas nations. Today’s announcement is the first time DOE has allowed exports of U.S. natural gas to Canada via pipeline for re-export out of Canada to foreign nations. DOE’s approval would allow gas to be sent into Canada and re-exported through the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, which currently flows from Canada down into New England. Spectra Energy has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reverse the flow of this pipeline and expand it.

“Today’s announcement appears to confirm my long-standing warnings that the ultimate goal of some natural gas pipeline proposals being made in New England is not to help our residents with expanded infrastructure but to use New England as a throughway to export U.S. natural gas to Canada and ultimately to overseas markets. The companies who are proposing these pipeline projects need to be fully forthcoming about the ultimate fate of the gas that would be transported through these pipelines in order for these proposals to be examined in their entirety. 

“If we allow natural gas to be exported out of New England to foreign markets, it will only add to the hardship our consumers are facing from high prices and link us to higher-priced international markets. That would be a disaster for our consumers and our region. DOE hasn't met a natural gas export application it can say no to if it’s willing to approve natural gas exports out of New England, a region where we have seen price spikes and capacity constraints in recent years. That is why I have introduced legislation to turn the broken DOE process on its head in order to protect American consumers and businesses.”

“I will vigorously oppose any pipeline proposals that would serve to export natural gas out of New England to overseas nations and harm our consumers.”

Senator Markey cited export concerns in his statement in opposition to the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. He noted that the Kinder Morgan pipeline could lead to the export of natural gas to foreign countries, raising prices for Massachusetts businesses and consumers. Today’s announcement by DOE would apply to natural gas volumes equal to the full capacity of Spectra’s Maritimes and Northeast pipeline.


Senator Markey has introduced legislation in the Senate, S. 585, the American Natural Gas Security and Consumer Protection Act, which would require DOE to weigh the impacts of natural gas exports on consumers, our economy and manufacturing sectors, national security and other considerations.