16 Republican AGs sue Biden administration over LNG exports pause



LNG tanker istock 0921

A group of 16 Republican attorneys general from around the country sued the Biden administration on Thursday over its pause on federal permits for new liquid natural gas (LNG) exports.

The states, led by Louisiana and Texas, demand the Department of Energy overturn the ban, which was announced in January. They claim the administration lacks authority to unilaterally deny the permits, and that the ban goes against Congress.

“This ban disregards statutory mandates, flouts the normal regulatory process, upends the industry, disrupts Plaintiffs’ economies, and subverts our constitutional structure,” the suit reads. “These unlawful actions leave Plaintiffs with no choice but to once more turn to the courts to enforce the law.”

The suit claims that Biden’s ban comes at the whims of “activists” and is motivated by politics, adding that it comes “in the midst of an election year, and after a sustained pressure campaign from billionaire conglomerates, celebrities, ‘influencers,’ and banks.”

The Biden administration opted for a LNG pause in January amid pressure from environmentalists, pledging to review the nation’s investment in the fuel source. While advocates laud it as a cleaner alternative to coal, others note that pipeline leaks can make it just as polluting.

The fuel source has long been viewed as a bridge between coal and renewables, with the LNG push first urged by former President Obama. President Biden’s permit ban marked a sharp turn from his predecessor.

The suit comes after Congressional Republicans repeatedly urged Biden to go back on the ban. House Oversight Committee Republicans demanded details on the policy in a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm last week.

“The timing of the decision, in an election year, raises the likelihood that political motivations drove the action,” the three Republicans wrote, citing reporting in The Wall Street Journal suggesting the administration consulted with environmental advocacy groups ahead of the announcement.

The GOP-led House passed a bill that would strip LNG permit authority away from the White House and towards an independent body in February, with a similar Senate measure introduced at the same time.

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