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Remarks by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the Cheniere Energy, Inc. Liquefaction — First Cargo Celebration in Corpus Christi, Texas


Thank you, Jack, for that kind introduction. And congratulations on your leadership in seeing this colossal and magnificent project all the way through to fruition.

It is also my pleasure to share the stage with you, Governor Abbott. I noticed that it was your birthday earlier this week, Governor: happy birthday. I won’t disclose your age, if you won’t disclose mine! Also, congratulations, Governor, on your re-election win last week, and, just as important, on CNBC’s naming Texas as the best state in the country for doing business.

It’s also my honor to be here with Brendan Bechtel, the fifth generation of family leadership in an iconic American company. For over a century, your firm has worked on thousands of projects that have improved the lives of billions of people in every corner of the world. We are grateful for your dedication to engineering and construction excellence.

Finally, for all of the workers in the audience today who built this facility, thank you for your enthusiasm for your jobs and on improving the skills required for your professions.

Our country needs more people like you to fill the many technical jobs that are being created every day.

To give you an indication of what it is like to work in Texas, yesterday, the Bureau of Economic Affairs within the Department of Commerce released the Second Quarter GDP numbers by state.

Governor, and all of those assembled here, you will be pleased to know that Texas led the country at 6 percent GDP growth.

This is an astoundingly healthy rate.

But, I might note, that Michigan and Missouri are not far behind you.

So stay on your toes, and continue to be a great place to do business.

This new LNG facility is an outstanding example of American ingenuity, and why our economy is finally emerging from years of stagnation. I wish every American could see for themselves the grandeur of this plant.

It was only a few years ago, that the U.S. energy industry was planning to build massive LNG plants not to export gas, but to import it. Yet, this plant embodies our great and long-standing American spirit: We create vast new opportunities from the early seeds of innovation. We see this occurring in every industry, from the shale gas revolution, to electronics, to telecommunications, transportation, agriculture, medicine, commercial space, and even through our culture and sports.

This first completely greenfield LNG export plant in the lower 48 states is evidence of how we as Americans are constantly reinventing ourselves. This project should provide every American with faith in our dynamic economy, and in our future.

We are still a land of plenty. We are still a land of opportunity. We are still able to revolutionize industries that nobody thought were capable of change. We will always invent our way out of any economic, industrial, technological, or environmental challenge. Innovation is steeped into our DNA.

And one of the great things about this country is we think big, and we do big things. If you want proof — each of the storage tanks on this facility is big enough to hold a Boeing 747. This facility and Cheniere’s Sabine Pass facility, are placing the United States on a record pace for LNG exports.

It is the first time since Dwight Eisenhower was president that the United States has become a net natural gas exporter. Our country is now exporting liquified natural gas to 30 countries on five continents, and it is only just beginning. You are driving American exports at a time when it is critical to our balance of trade.

You are also engaged in making the free world more free. Energy security is a goal shared by all of our allies, friends, and partners. The United States is now the world’s leading oil producer, surpassing both Saudi Arabia and Russia. We are the world’s leading producer of natural gas. During the first Arab Oil Embargo in the 1970s, nobody thought this could be possible. We have unleashed America’s energy industry.

This facility is producing wealth for tens of thousands of people throughout the United States, many of whom have no idea that they are benefiting from your diligence and resolve. You are creating great jobs not only here in Corpus Christi and southern Texas, but throughout the United States, and throughout the world.

The $15 billion investment you have made here in Corpus Christi is helping clean up our environment.  It is generating demand for all types of goods and services. It is helping reduce our country's unemployment rate to record lows, and is increasing the need for skilled workers, especially in the manufacturing sector. After years of stagnation, it is essential that our economy continues on this upward trajectory.

We are working on trade agreements that will further benefit American industries.

The United States - Mexico and Canada Agreement should go a long way to boosting our economic growth. It will generate billions and billions of dollars of additional revenue for American companies. It was negotiated to provide an advantage to American producers and American workers, and we hope that Congress concurs.

We can only conclude that what you are doing here — this awe-inspiring project — is a huge win for Texas, a huge win for the United States, and a huge win for the world. On behalf of President Trump and every member of the administration, congratulations on a job well done. You have ushered in a new era of economic growth and prosperity.

Thank you.