Move over “freedom fries,” America has a new patriotic rebranding move and this time it comes in the form of overhauling fossil fuels.
In an official Department of Energy (DoE) press release, two top-ranking government energy officials spoke to the benefits of “spreading freedom gas” and allowing “molecules of US freedom to be exported to the world.” The statement was meant to announce the approval of additional exports of US-produced natural gas from the Freeport LNG Terminal in Texas at the 10th Clean Energy Ministerial, but the message was quickly lost as media organizations picked up on its very pro-Americana rebranding effort.
A quick word search finds that the word “freedom” was only used twice by two leading energy officials.
“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy,” said US Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes, adding that the announcement “furthers this Administration’s commitment to promoting energy and diversity worldwide.”
The second time “freedom” was used was when Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg said that he was “pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of US freedom to be exported to the world.”
It’s unclear whether the patriotic renaming of the nation’s natural resources was an intentional move by the Trump Administration. What we do know is that the increase in allowable exports ups the quota to .72 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from a soon-to-be-built liquefaction train in Texas. The DoE notes this addition will not only enhance global energy security but will also stimulate domestic economic development and job creation as domestic natural gas production is expected to continue to increase and break previously set production records.
The decision for the new facility was a contentious one with opposers citing concerns over greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Ultimately, a government committee approved the infrastructure after reviewing an environmental assessment instead of a more thorough and extensive environmental impact statement, S&P Global reports.
Carbon dioxide emitted by natural gas is half that of coal but drilling and extraction of the fuel and its transportation often results in methane leaks that measure 34 times stronger than CO2, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. So, it may burn cleaner than other fossil fuels but it is still a far step from more renewable energies such as wind and solar.