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Morning Brief: A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports

by Renewing America Staff
June 14, 2012

An Australian liquified natural gas (LNG) carrier, with four cyrogenic storage tanks that hold LNG, sails off the coast of Western Australia (Handout/Courtesy Reuters). An Australian liquified natural gas (LNG) carrier, with four cyrogenic storage tanks that hold LNG, sails off the coast of Western Australia (Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

In a new paper published by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, CFR Senior Fellow Michael A. Levi assesses the costs and benefits of natural gas exports, and recommends allowing exports with appropriate risk mitigation actions. Levi’s framework includes six dimensions: macroeconomic, distributional, oil security, climate change, foreign and trade policy, and local environment. While supporting exports, he cautions that the potential job gains will be less than many expect. The report also explains some less obvious effects of natural gas policy. For instance, preventing natural gas exports would weaken U.S. arguments against China’s export restrictions on rare earth metals.

The transformation of the U.S. energy market created by the new extraction techniques for oil and gas has some predicting a renaissance for U.S. manufacturing based on lower, stable energy costs. Renewing America contributor Steven J. Markovich examined those claims and argued that the impact will likely be modest in a Policy Initiative Spotlight.

International trade and investment. Read more from leading analysts on the debate over next steps in U.S. trade policy.

Corporate Regulation and Taxation

Dimon Testimony Revives Regulatory Debate

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee has revived debate over financial regulations. The New York Times chided the questioning Senators for not pressing Dimon hard enough on his opposition to new rules. The Wall Street Journal praised Dimon for taking responsibility and battling against new regulations, including his argument that the Volker Rule will be inadequate in banning proprietary trading. On Bloomberg, William Cohan argues Wall Street is still a black box to regulators while another piece proposes restructuring regional Federal Reserve banks to reduce bankers’ influence.

Corporate regulation and taxation. Read more from top economists and business experts on solutions for addressing corporate tax reform.

Infrastructure

Highway Bill Negotiations Appear to Stall

The lead highway bill negotiators for the Senate and House accused each other’s party of delaying the bill (TheHill). Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said there is “a definite lack of urgency in the House and a definite lack of leadership like we had in the Senate.” Rep. John Mica (R-FL) said he was disappointed that “Senate negotiators have yet to move significantly on key House reform proposals.” In a press conference yesterday before these comments, Boxer was more upbeat: “Everybody is moving toward one another — that’s good… They’re sending us language, we’re sending them language, and we’ve done it for about, say, 75 percent of the bill.”

CFR Senior Fellow and Renewing America Director Edward Alden recently discussed political dysfunction in Washington, including the inability of Congress to expand infrastructure investment despite the support of labor unions and business groups.

Infrastructure. Read more on how upgrading the nation’s aging network of roads, bridges, airports, railways, and water systems is essential to maintaining U.S. competitiveness.

Innovation

United States Ranks Seventh in Innovation

Bloomberg released its global innovation index; overall, the United States ranks seventh on a list of eighty-one countries, trailing: Finland, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, and Germany. The United States earned the top rank for “High-tech density” (the percentage of publically listed firms in high-tech sectors), and strong marks in productivity, R&D intensity, and researcher concentration. Manufacturing capability and the graduation ratio of STEM were America’s weakest spots.

Innovation. Read more on how the U.S. capacity to innovate could play a chief role in economic growth.

The Morning Brief is compiled by Renewing America contributor Steven J. Markovich.

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