‘Threatens National Security’: Even Some Democrats Are Balking At Biden’s Latest Energy Decision

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Big 3 auto companies, Friday, September 15, 2023 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Several House Democrats crossed the aisle on Monday to join Republicans in expressing concern about the Biden administration’s pause on approving new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals.

Seven Democratic members of the Energy Export Caucus signed a bipartisan Monday letter to President Joe Biden outlining their concerns with the LNG decision, which energy sector experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation will empower foreign producers while not reducing emissions. The Biden administration is pausing its approvals of new and pending proposals for LNG export terminals to consider the climate impacts of these projects, a delay which is expected to last for more than a year.

The seven Democrats who signed the Energy Export Caucus letter are Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Lou Correa of California, Mary Sattler Peltola of Alaska, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Jim Costa of California and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington.

LNG Export Ban Letter to POTUS 2.5.23 by Nick Pope on Scribd

The Department of Energy’s plan to change the criteria used to approve new LNG export projects threatens national security, the economy and clean energy goals … If the Biden administration is serious about addressing global climate goals the easiest way to achieve those goals is to bolster U.S. LNG production and exportation,” the letter reads. “Natural gas production and U.S. LNG exports supply much-needed energy to our allies, sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans, and provide global environmental benefits. For these reasons, we urge you to direct the U.S. Department of Energy to issue U.S. LNG export licenses more rapidly rather than stop or pause the process.”

Senate Republicans have already introduced a bill that would effectively overturn the policy if it becomes law, and their colleagues in the House are expected to introduce similar legislation in the near future, according to Reuters. The Daily Caller News Foundation asked several Senate Democrats representing states that produce considerable quantities of natural gas whether they would support the bill, but none of them provided a direct answer.

This week will see two hearings on the decision to pause approvals for LNG export terminals, with the House Energy and Commerce Committee scheduled to examine the move on Tuesday and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s hearing set for Thursday.

While legislators on both sides of the aisle may be concerned about the policy and its geopolitical implications, eco-activists celebrated the hiatus as a victory for their movement. The White House amplified the reactions of many environmentalist groups in a January blog post, including a statement from Climate Defiance, a confrontational activist group that has targeted administration officials and elected Democrats in recent months.

Neither the DOE nor the White House responded immediately to requests for comment.

Nick Pope on February 5, 2024

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