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President Trump won't admit it, but he's taking credit for something President Obama did. In a speech at the Energy Department Thursday, Trump is expected to tout America's oil and natural gas boom, and in particular how his administration is green lighting exports of liquified natural gas (LNG), which has been a presidential talking point for the last few months.

But it was actually the Obama administration that approved nearly all of the LNG poised to be exported, and Trump is so far just reiterating what his predecessor did.

Expand chart

Why it matters: The Trump administration has displayed a lot of positive rhetoric about LNG exports, but so far it hasn't made any explicit policy changes to how the federal government reviews applications for LNG. An Energy Department spokeswoman declined on Wednesday to say whether Trump will make any related policy announcements in his speech Thursday.

How it works: Under current law, countries that do have free-trade agreements with the U.S. get a near automatic approval from the federal government to receive U.S. LNG. Applications seeking to export to countries that aren't free-trade partners with the U.S. must go through a two-step review process to show such exports are in the U.S. national interest. The Energy Department has approved additional LNG export applications under Trump, continuing what Obama did.

What's already done: Under Obama, the Energy Department rejiggered the way federal reviews are done to speed up — not slow down — the whole process, to the chagrin of some environmental groups. In 2014, the Energy Department cut down the process, which also involves the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, from three steps to two.

What more could be done: Rhetoric encouraging countries, like China, to import LNG from the U.S. has been the main thing Trump is doing so far. To really change things, Trump could do one of the following things:

  1. Push Congress to change the 1938 law governing exports of LNG, which is unlikely given lawmakers' unwillingness to change most long-standing laws.
  2. Further condense the federal review process.
  3. Strike more free-trade deals, which seems unlikely given his positions on current trade deals.

To be sure: Obama took credit for things his predecessor did too. In 2011, he was touting increased offshore oil and natural gas production, even though a top official in his administration at the time said such increases were due to policies his predecessor, George W. Bush, put in place that increased access to federal waters.

Go deeper

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations were "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

5 hours ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.