On LNG, eNGOs and Billionaire Funders Put Moderate Democrats in a Tough Spot

Opposition to the Rockefeller-backed LNG export “pause” keeps pouring in from Republicans and Democrats alike. Last week, eight moderate Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to President Biden requesting regular updates on the Department of Energy’s evaluation of LNG exports and more clarity on the timeline of the pause.

Many of the letter signers are currently defending “battleground” seats in this election cycle. Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Mary Peltola (D-AK), Jared Golden (D-ME), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Susan Wild (D-PA), Donald Davis (D-NC), and Marc Veasey (D-TX) pointed out in the letter that the LNG export permitting pause is already impacting allies in Europe, where the region’s gas market remains tight and highly dependent on Russian gas:

“For example, the German state-owned energy group SEFE has a contract to purchase LNG from a Louisiana facility that has yet to be authorized due to the Administration’s pause. As a result, SEFE decided to continue a natural gas supply contract with Russia. We must ensure that U.S. LNG can fill necessary gaps in European energy supply to combat Russian aggression.”

The eight members argued that the White House conducted a 19-month long “public interest” review of LNG exports as recently as 2015, and the DOE’s current review of the LNG export permitting process is likely to be duplicative. Instead, the Democrats argued, the White House should build off companies’ voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the LNG supply chain and resume LNG export permitting:

“…we urge the Administration to bring about a swift end to the LNG export permit pause and that any regulatory changes be incorporated in an open and transparent means.”

The eight representatives join several additional House and Senate Democrats in their concern about the LNG export pause. Previously, Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) expressed varying degrees of unease and disapproval over the policy decision.

Revealing a remarkable intra-party divide on energy policy, other members of the Democratic party continue to back the pause, even calling for it to be made “permanent”:

It appears that Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and progressive Democratic lawmakers are taking their cues from the environmental activist movement instead of voters in crucial swing states. The administration’s LNG pause is unpopular with voters, according to a new Ipsos poll showing that nine of out ten of Americans believe we should continue to supply natural gas to allies overseas.

Unsurprisingly, the LNG export pause is the brainchild of billionaire funders, not every day Americans. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Funder Collaborative on Oil and Gas, a funding initiative backed by the Rockefellers, Michael Bloomberg, and other wealthy donors took credit for the White House’s decision to pause LNG exports, and they’re not stopping there.

The activists have a familiar next target in their sights: crude oil exports. Last week, many of the same activist groups behind the LNG export pause sent a letter to the White House and the Department of Transportation calling on the Biden administration to halt permit approvals of proposed deepwater oil export facilities. Such a move would be an enormous step backwards – nearly a decade after the crude oil export ban was lifted, the data shows that American crude oil exports reduced crude oil prices worldwide and increased economic activity and employment.

Bottom Line: The LNG export pause is a flawed policy decision that creates instability in both the domestic natural gas industry and in the global energy marketplace. President Biden should listen to the diverse set of bipartisan and independent voices opposing the LNG export pause and restore certainty to American energy policy.

No Comments

Post A Comment