by Benjamin Zycher
American Enterprise Institute
September 13, 2013
Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to obtain favors from the federal government. That is the large, unexplored reality on the infighting between the firms and industries in support of expanded natural gas exports as determined by market forces (free trade) and those in favor of limitations. Higher international prices mean that the federal government would have to determine not only the “right” export level but also who would be given the valuable export rights. The feds in principle could simply auction the rights to export natural gas, which would generate some cold cash to bestow on various spending interests. On the other hand, doing so would highlight the economic costs of the export limitations. It is far more likely that the export rights would be allocated on the basis of political criteria, as a bit of history demonstrates.

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