According to the Department of Energy, the next critical export from the United States is made from “molecules of U.S. Freedom.”
You may wonder, what are these molecules?
The technical answer is liquefied natural gas. Or, if you are in charge of energy policy for the Trump administration, “freedom gas.”
Let that seep in.
On Tuesday, the department announced plans to increase exports of the fuel source from a new liquefaction plant that will be built off the coast of Texas on Quintana Island by Freeport LNG of Houston.
That announcement was quickly overshadowed by the colorful terminology in the release.
“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,” Mark W. Menezes, the under secretary of energy, said in a news release.
Steven Winberg, the assistant secretary for fossil energy who signed the export order, said that the announcement underscored the administration’s “commitment” to an America-first agenda.
“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,” Mr. Winberg said.
It seems the two men were just building on the metaphorical work of their boss, Rick Perry, the secretary of energy and former governor of Texas.
Earlier this month in Brussels, Mr. Perry told a group of reporters that “the United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent” 75 years after liberating Europe from Nazi occupation, according to EURACTIV.com.
“And rather than in the form of young American soldiers,” Mr. Perry said, “it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”
A reporter for EURACTIV asked whether “freedom gas” would be a fair way of describing the fuel.
“Yes, I think you may be correct in your observation,” Mr. Perry said, according to news reports.
Ellen M. Gilmer, an editor at E&E News, was among the first to notice the rebranding effort.
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington also weighed in.
“This has to be a joke (Remember freedom fries?),” he tweeted, recalling the time in 2003 when Congress, unhappy about France’s opposition to President Bush’s Iraq policies, renamed the French fries sold in its cafeterias.
So what does it all mean?
“Spreading freedom gas sounds like what happens when you’re newly single and suddenly have the apartment to yourself,” Slate joked.
A call to the Department of Energy was not immediately returned.