7 House Democrats Join Republicans Urging Biden to Reverse Natural Gas Export Pause

Seven congressional Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in a letter on Monday, expressing their concern with a new decision by President Joe Biden last month to pause exports of liquified natural gas (LNG).

Congressional Energy Export Caucus co-chairs Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Luis Correa (D-Calif.) joined their Republican caucus co-chairs, Carol Miller (R-W.Va.) and Jody Arrington (R-Texas), in a Monday, Feb. 5 letter that pushes back on a Jan. 26 decision by the Biden administration to halt LNG exports, citing climate change concerns.

The letter was signed by 10 more Republican House members and five additional Democrats in the House: Reps. Mary Sattler Peltola of Alaska, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Jim Costa of California, and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington.

The letter argues that continued liquified natural gas exports from the United States are critical to serve the energy needs of allies and partners across Europe during the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.

Russia was a leading exporter of LNG and other fossil fuels prior to its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. U.S. exports of LNG rose after the invasion, with many European nations shifting away from Russian-supplied fossil fuel products and adopting U.S.-supplied energy as an alternative.

The letter by the bipartisan group of lawmakers further argues that continued exports of U.S. LNG actually better serves the Biden administration’s stated goal of reducing global emissions, as the U.S. fossil fuel industry has better emissions standards than Russia.

“Unlike the United States—where methane emissions are modest, regulated, and declining—Russia’s natural gas production facilities and distribution networks are old, largely unregulated, and leaky,” the letter reads.

The Feb. 5 letter also notes that the increased reliance on U.S. exports of LNG supports the domestic economy, with the natural gas industry providing an estimated 10 million U.S. jobs.

“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,” the letter from the bipartisan group states.

The letter, organized by the Congressional Energy Export Caucus, represents one of several statements issued by lawmakers pushing back on the Biden administration’s decision to pause exports of LNG. Meanwhile, 150 House Republicans organized a separate letter to President Biden on Sunday, Feb. 4, urging the president to end the export pause “and expeditiously approve all pending applications to increase the global supply of natural gas.”

Sens. Manchin, Fetterman, Casey Distance From Export Pause

The seven House Democrats who signed onto the Feb. 5 letter aren’t the only members of President Biden’s party who are at odds with his decision to pause exports of liquified natural gas.

On the day President Biden announced the export pause, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, vowed to hold hearings to scrutinize the Biden administration’s reasoning for the pause and wouldn’t take kindly to the executive action if it turned out to be a “political ploy.”

“If the Administration has the facts to prove that additional LNG export capacity would hurt Americans, they must make that information public and clear,” Mr. Manchin said. “But if this pause is just another political ploy to pander to keep-it-in-the-ground climate activists at the expense of American workers, businesses, and our allies in need, I will do everything in my power to end this pause immediately.”

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to investigate the LNG export pause has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8.

Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman, who both represent Pennsylvania, also expressed their concerns about the export pause in a Feb. 1 statement.

“Pennsylvania is an energy state. As the second largest natural gas-producing state, this industry has created good-paying energy jobs in towns and communities across the Commonwealth and has played a critical role in promoting U.S. energy independence,” they wrote. “While the immediate impacts on Pennsylvania remain to be seen, we have concerns about the long-term impacts that this pause will have on the thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry. If this decision puts Pennsylvania energy jobs at risk, we will push the Biden Administration to reverse this decision.”

Pennsylvania also represents a key battleground state in the 2024 election. President Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by less than 1 percent in the ballot tally. The state went to President Biden in 2020 with the Democrat candidate leading by about 1.2 percent in the final election tally.




Share Button

Leave a Reply