(Gray News) - Phrasing used by Department of Energy officials when discussing a fossil fuel has been met with questions and disapproval.
In a bulletin describing the authorization of additional liquid natural gas exports from the FreedomLNG Terminal in Quintana Island, Texas, a Department of Energy official called the fossil fuel “freedom gas.”
“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy," said U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes.
He made the remark at the Tenth Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada.
Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg, who signed the export order, went further, calling natural gas “molecules of U.S. freedom.”
"With the U.S. in another year of record-setting natural gas production, I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world,” he said.
Department officials are taking their cues from Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a former Texas governor and presidential candidate.
He used “freedom” to describe natural gas exports in remarks in Brussels earlier in May, Euractiv reported.
Comparing exports with sending soldiers to liberate Europe during World War II, Perry said, “The United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent ... and rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”
When asked by Euractiv if “freedom gas” would be a good way of describing natural gas exports to Europe, he responded, “So yes, I think you may be correct in your observation.”
The U.S. is competing with Russia to bring natural gas to Europe, with the DOE bragging earlier in May that the U.S. is now a net exporter.
The rebranding of the fossil fuel drew skepticism on social media from sources such the Union of Concerned Scientists and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is running for president.
Inslee, who is running on a platform to combat climate change, called the terminology “a joke.”
The Union of Concerned scientists wanted to know “Where on the periodic scale are the freedom gases located?”
A Twitter user also coined the terms “Liberty Vapor, Constitutional Solid and Patriot Plasma," saying “There is no evidence for Freedom Gas and it is irresponsible for the head of DOE to suggest otherwise.”