The Department of Energy last week approved a third application for a U.S. terminal to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). Lake Charles Exports in Lake Charles, La., was approved to construct a $2 billion facility to export up to 2.0 billion cu ft of natural gas per day to countries with and without U.S. free-trade agreements. Including the two plants previously approved by DOE, U.S. companies now have authority to export some 5.6 billion cu ft of natural gas daily. Some 20 other applications are still pending before DOE. Lawmakers remain split over the levels of natural gas that should be exported. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, cautions that the 5.6 billion-cu-ft-per-day total already authorized is just below levels that studies say may have impacts on domestic prices. However, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Wyden’s Republican counterpart on the Energy Committee, applauds the announcement, urging swift approval of other pending permit applications. The U.S. chemical industry, which uses methane for fuel and feedstock, is also divided on the proper export level.