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Biden’s Temporary Halt on LNG Projects: A Sensible Measure for Climate Stability and Community Well-being

President Biden (Credits: Reuters)

The Biden administration‘s decision to implement a temporary pause on permit approvals for new liquified natural gas (LNG) export facilities has sparked a fierce backlash from Republican critics, who are claiming that this move amounts to a “war on American energy.”

However, a closer examination of the situation reveals that this pause is a prudent measure to review the scientific and economic implications of exporting gas overseas.

The White House policy is designed to assess several critical areas of concern, including the climate pollution generated by fracking and transportation, the environmental toll on communities located near these facilities, and the impact on American consumers. By temporarily pausing to examine these issues, the administration can determine whether building new export facilities is in the public interest.

Joe Biden (Credits: CNN)

The evidence against LNG expansion is overwhelming. From a climate pollution perspective, the entire LNG process, from drilling to liquefaction and transportation, is worse than burning coal.

Several studies have found that exporting gas raises prices for U.S. consumers, which is unsurprising given that the supply of a valuable commodity is being reduced.

Gas export facilities release harmful air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds and particulate matter, which pose substantial health risks to frontline communities.

In light of these findings, the pause on new permit approvals could not have come at a more critical moment. While the pause does not impact current export facilities or those already approved and scheduled for construction, it would stop the long-term growth of a highly polluting industry. The pause was a welcome move after years of blank-check approvals from both the Trump and early Biden administrations.

President Joe Biden (Credits: The Hill)

Oil and gas exports have increased dramatically over the past seven years. Natural gas exports have increased 226 percent since 2016, and crude oil exports have increased 751 percent.

Even with the Biden administration’s permitting pause, already approved but not yet built facilities will triple the nation’s LNG export capacity. This sensible first step has provoked a furious backlash from right-wing Republicans, who are wildly exaggerating the impact of the Biden policy.

House Republicans are now pushing to tie a repeal of the LNG pause to unrelated legislation, including military aid for Ukraine. The White House claims this move is a non-starter, but there are reasons to be concerned.

President Biden has established a track record of backing down from seemingly strong positions against fossil fuels. He campaigned to stop fracking on public lands, yet he has overseen a substantial increase in drilling permits.

More recently, the White House approved Alaska’s massive Willow oil drilling plan despite sustained opposition from climate activists worldwide. It also approved a new deepwater oil export terminal off the coast of Texas that could load 2 million barrels of crude oil daily.

US President Biden (Credits:

President Biden surely knows by now that his right-wing opponents are not merely seeking to undo this LNG pause – they hope to dismantle every part of his climate and clean energy legacy.

Biden should stand behind his agenda rather than continue resisting political and industry pressure. That means not merely defending this temporary pause but doubling down and strengthening it.

President Biden should listen to the hundreds of organizations across the United States and internationally urging him to go beyond the pause, stop all LNG approvals, and roll back the export facilities that are already approved but not yet built.

The United States cannot build any additional LNG export plants for the sake of our climate stability, the health of frontline communities, and even our own pocketbooks.

President Biden has spoken eloquently of the existential threat of the climate crisis. He must begin to govern like a leader, take even stronger action, and stand up to those who would seek to undo the temporary LNG pause he recently adopted.

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