Plans to increase the export of liquefied fracked gas in the United States pose a direct threat to jobs and manufacturing competitiveness, according to a powerful trade group that represents some of the largest manufacturers in the US.

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) wrote to the Trump Administration claiming that the US Department of Energy had approved so many LNG terminals that the export industry created “significant risk to domestic manufacturers” by eliminating a secure and cheap supply of natural gas.

The IECA, a non-partisan association of leading manufacturing companies, represents over 2,300 manufacturing businesses nationwide that employ 1.4 million workers. The group views cheap natural gas prices and abundant domestic supplies as key to the vigour of local industrial economies.

The IECA letter to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry quoted a study that concluded that using methane for manufacturing created eight times more jobs and added twice the direct value to the product. In contrast, exporting LNG increased domestic methane prices and killed manufacturing jobs in the chemical and plastics industry.

The IECA’s letter also criticizes claims made by the Centre for Liquefied Natural Gas, an industry lobby group, that has asked the Trump administration to expedite LNG exports.

LNG proponents claim that the industry will create up to half a million US jobs by 2035 and pour billions into government coffers, according to a report in online news publication The Tyee. But the IECA says none of those claims have been independently verified.

Moreover, LNG is a capital-intensive industry that, after construction, produces few jobs. LNG terminals only require a couple of hundred employees.

The IECA has asked the U.S. government “to establish a moratorium on further LNG export approvals until the definition of public interest is fully explored, vetted and agreed upon.”

image: Shell