Senator Wyden Calls for re-examination of LNG export approval criteria. Prompted by the Department of Energy (DOE’s) recent decision to approve Freeport liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) Expansion’s application to export natural gas to countries without a free trade agreement, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, urged DOE to update its criteria for approvals to balance more clearly the benefits of exports against those of an enhanced supply of domestic natural gas, such as energy security, and economic impacts. Ranking member, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), has also seemed to endorse a re-examination of DOE’s approval criteria, citing the need for certainty by project developers. DOE can only approve projects that are in the “public interest,” but that term is not defined. In the past, DOE stated that criteria for approval include economic impacts, international issues, energy security, and environmental impacts, but critics have questioned the ambiguity of the factors, the potential conflict between them, and their equal weighting. Others have also advocated for DOE prioritize its review to those where developers have already incurred significant costs, instead of using its current first-serve approach to processing applications.