WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) authored a joint op-ed in the Houston Chronicle underscoring the devastating economic, environmental, and national security impacts of President Biden’s decision to freeze new LNG export projects.
“President Joe Biden’s decision to freeze liquefied natural gas export permitting to non-free trade agreement countries — an action taken to appease left-wing climate activists — is disastrous policy no matter which way you cut it. LNG exports are critical to our energy, economic and national security while providing major environmental benefits,” wrote the senators.
“At the end of the day, the freeze is a war on American energy, a war on American workers, a war on our allies and a war on America’s national security. Why is Biden prioritizing the demands of uninformed climate activists over the security needs of our country?” concluded the senators.
Biden’s LNG freeze Threatens Texas Jobs and European Security
Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and John Cornyn (R-TX)
February 4, 2024
President Joe Biden’s decision to freeze liquefied natural gas export permitting to non-free trade agreement countries — an action taken to appease left-wing climate activists — is disastrous policy no matter which way you cut it. LNG exports are critical to our energy, economic and national security while providing major environmental benefits.
Since Russian troops invaded Ukraine nearly two years ago, American LNG has served as a vital lifeline for countries in Europe and across the globe. In 2022 alone, European LNG imports increased by 60%. The U.S. met the majority of that demand, providing affordable and reliable energy to our friends and allies. Thanks to America’s energy producers, these countries have reduced their reliance on Russian natural gas and bolstered their energy security. Biden’s LNG freeze threatens to reverse that progress. It may force European leaders to make an impossible decision: gamble on an unreliable supply of American LNG or prop up Putin’s war by switching to Russian gas to keep the lights on.
Dangerous conflicts are unfolding outside of Europe as well. Iran’s terrorist proxies are ramping up attacks in the Middle East and disrupting vital trade corridors. At the same time, tensions are escalating in the Indo-Pacific from Chinese aggression. Bottom line: This is the absolute worst time to jeopardize our economic and national security.
Furthermore, LNG exports are uniquely suited to help decrease global emissions. Looking at the U.S. alone, the shift to natural gas for electricity generation has reduced emissions significantly more than the added amount of renewables, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Our emissions are lower today than they were in 2005, despite significant economic and population growth. This all happened thanks in large part to the natural gas revolution. But it doesn’t fit into the preferred narrative for left-wing climate activists. Soon, our allies will have to turn to other producers like Russia and Iran or switch to coal to meet energy demand. All these options produce far more emissions than American LNG and are extracted with inferior environmental standards.
Biden’s decision to halt new LNG export projects is sure to bolster hostile nations, line the pockets of dictators and increase global emissions. It’s a dangerous move that hurts our allies and helps our adversaries.
While the freeze pauses numerous projects currently in the queue — projects that won’t come to fruition for years — this decision demonstrates the fundamental misunderstanding on the part of the Biden administration on how industry works. Purchase agreements are lined up well before LNG export facilities come online. For example, a project planned on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico has already signed a 20-year contract to supply American energy to Europe. The uncertainty created by this decision jeopardizes pending and future critical projects, which could in turn affect job growth in Louisiana and Texas, our nation’s economy and our allies’ security for years to come.
The economic impact cannot be overstated. In September 2023, nearly 95% of domestically produced LNG was exported from Louisiana and Texas. Nationally, it’s a significant economic boon, as well. According to the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and natural gas industry employs almost 2.6 million Americans and supports 9.8 million jobs in the U.S. A report commissioned by the API estimates that increased exports could create more than 450,000 jobs and increase the U.S. gross domestic product by $73 billion. The decision to halt new LNG projects for more than a year will have a chilling effect on new investments that would help make that growth possible.
This newest talking point for the Biden campaign trail is yet another example of missing the forest for the trees. Biden is so focused on pleasing climate activists that he’s lost sight of the bigger picture. At the end of the day, the freeze is a war on American energy, a war on American workers, a war on our allies and a war on America’s national security. Why is Biden prioritizing the demands of uninformed climate activists over the security needs of our country?
Immediately following the Biden administration’s announcement that they would be freezing pending applications for LNG export permitting, Cassidy led 25 of his Republican colleagues in sending a letter blasting the decision. The president’s anti-energy decision is a major blow to American energy independence and will only increase global reliance on Russia and other bad actors around the world. Our European allies, who have become increasingly reliant on the U.S. for LNG following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, will now be forced to decide between depriving their citizens of energy or actively funding Putin.
He also introduced the Unlocking Domestic LNG Potential Act, which depoliticizes the export of American liquefied natural gas. It eliminates the requirement for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to authorize its export and instead giving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sole authority over the approval process.
Earlier this month, Cassidy questioned Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk on the rumors surrounding this decision and emphasized the energy, economic, environmental, and national security importance of U.S. LNG exports.