The Senate voted 56-37 to reject the amendment and retain the ultimate authority for locating new LNG terminals in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The amendment was sponsored by Maryland Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin and was aimed specifically at blocking an LNG terminal being planned by Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corp. at Sparrows Point in Maryland on the former site of a Bethlehem Steel shipyard.
Supporters of LNG in the Senate argued that the proposal would effectively have allowed states to have veto power over the plants.
The FERC has had strengthened authority over LNG facilities for the past two years since the US passed legislation to tighten energy security and safeguard oil and gas imports.
Senator Pete Domenici, the senior Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said natural gas imports were crucial to fill gaps in US supply.
"This country is going to need large amounts of natural gas over the next 15 or 20 years," said Domenici. "It's terribly important to our country that we have this ( LNG) available when we need it."