Caving to the green lobby, the Biden administration is halting the permitting process to build several massive liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals along the Gulf Coast. The terminals are necessary to meet the increasing demand for LNG exports to Europe.
“As our exports increase, we must review export applications using the most comprehensive up-to-date analysis of the economic, environmental and national security considerations,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters on a press call. “This action includes a pause on pending applications for exports of U.S. natural gas as LNG to non-free trade agreement countries until the department can update the underlying analyses for authorizations.”
The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s trade organization, sees the action by Biden as nothing short of disastrous: “This is a win for Russia and a loss for American allies, U.S. jobs and global climate progress. There is no review needed to understand the clear benefits of U.S. LNG for stabilizing global energy markets, supporting thousands of American jobs and reducing emissions around the world by transitioning countries toward cleaner fuels. This is nothing more than a broken promise to U.S. allies, and it’s time for the administration to stop playing politics with global energy security.”
But the environmental lobby has changed its mind about LNG. Instead of pushing natural gas as an acceptable alternative to coal or oil, the greens have doubled back and now say LNG is bad, bad, bad for climate change.
Shipping LNG abroad could be its own climate disaster, with questionable benefits: Recent research found that it may be worse for the environment than burning coal; other reports suggest that the build-out will quickly outpace future European demand or financially benefit global commodity traders over European consumers. These discrepancies have prompted questions about whether the Biden administration would step in to halt the infrastructure boom.
There are 11 of these natural gas projects that have been given the go-ahead by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC).It may be years before they get a green light from the regulators.
Biden is trying to play both sides of the climate issue against the middle, trying not to alienate younger voters who vote green while trying to keep as many older voters as possible who might not look at his climate change agenda favorably.
America’s climate policy under President Joe Biden has been full of contradictions. Biden ran on a platform that presented him as the first climate president, then led the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment the U.S. has made in curbing climate change. He launched the American Climate Corps, set a new national goal to reduce emissions, and made moves to phase down super-pollutant HFCs and methane emissions. At the same time, he has supervised perhaps the single-most oil-and-gas-intensive year in U.S. history. America now produces more oil than any other country ever has.
Europe has been trying to wean itself off of Russian natural gas supplies since the war in Ukraine started. Many EU nations are particularly vulnerable, getting 70-80% of their natural gas supplies from Russia.
Moscow will have no problem selling its LNG given that Europe will be forced to go hat in hand to Russia for their energy needs.