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Energy Department refers to natural gas as "freedom gas" in press release

Future of natural gas

Two officials with the U.S. Department of Energy labeled America's natural gas to match the country's reputation for freedom in a press release this week. Its new name? "Freedom gas."

The announcement on Tuesday shared the department's approval of additional exports of liquified natural gas produced by a Freeport LNG facility on Quintana Island, Texas.

"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 Mark W. Menezes, the under secretary of energy.

Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, added to the patriotic terminology by calling the 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," Winberg said.

The release was eventually criticized online. Democratic presidential hopeful and Washington Governor Jay Inslee ripped the department, tweeting: "This has to be a joke. (Remember freedom fries?)"

Inslee, who has made climate change his signature issue, continued slamming the release.

"Freedom gas? Freedom is generally good, but freedom from glaciers, freedom from clean air, freedom from healthy forests that aren't on fire, and freedom from the world we know and cherish is not what we seek," he tweeted.

The release, however, isn't the first time the Energy Department has associated "freedom" with natural gas.  Earlier this month, Energy Secretary Rick Perry referenced the term while speaking about the expansion of liquefied natural gas exports to Europe.

"Seventy-five years after liberating Europe from Nazi Germany occupation, the United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent," Perry said in Brussels, according to EURACTIV.com. "And rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it's in the form of liquefied natural gas."

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