President Obama’s suggestion that he may favor greater U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas is a welcome sign. More exports would spur more domestic production and help balance U.S. trade.
LNG exports could also help counter the unsettling increase in American exports of coal to Europe. In 2012 the U.S. sent about 66.4 million tons (60.2 million metric tons) of coal across the Atlantic, 23 percent more than the year before. Exporting coal works against the progress the U.S. has made in lowering its own greenhouse gas emissions by replacing coal power in the U.S. with cleaner-burning natural gas.