(Albuquerque) If the Obama Administration approves liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to non-free trade nations (those that do not have separate trade agreements with the United States), New Mexico could see an immediate increase in economic output of $200 million and the addition of 2,000 jobs according to a new Rio Grande Foundation report.

The issue of whether or not to export a portion of America’s bounty of clean natural gas has generated heated debate pitting some environmentalists and manufacturers who oppose exports against producers and free trade supporters who wish to allow exports.

The Rio Grande Foundation has come down firmly on the side of free trade and those who wish to sell natural gas around the world.

Said Foundation President Paul Gessing, “Philosophically, this view flows directly from our support for free markets, but it also is a product of our desire to strengthen New Mexico’s economy by providing new markets for natural gas produced within our borders.”

To come to its conclusions regarding the jobs and economic input of natural gas exports, the Foundation relied on data available from IHS Global Insight which stated that “exports would create over 100,000 direct, indirect, and economy wide jobs and have an immediate impact resulting in between $3.6 and $5.2 billion in potential revenues.”

According to the US Energy Information Administration, New Mexico produces 5.3 percent of total US natural gas, thus making it likely that New Mexico would experience a similar ratio of economic benefits.

Continued Gessing, “The economic impact numbers outlined above are just a starting point in terms of economic impact, but 2,000 new jobs would be enough to qualify these new jobs as the 5th-largest private employer in New Mexico were they all at one company.”

In addition to New Mexico jobs, benefits of LNG exports include increasing tax revenues, reduced carbon emissions over other energy sources, reduced trade deficits, a display of principled support of free trade, and closer relations with foreign people and governments.

Concluded Gessing, “LNG exports are a true win-win-win policy, President Obama should act now.”

Gessing recently sat down with KNAT TV to discuss the issue of LNG exports. See that interview below:

Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing discusses the potential for Liquefied Natural Gas Exports on Joy in Our Town fromPaul Gessing on Vimeo.

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