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A service for political professionals · Tuesday, May 21, 2024 · 713,528,646 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

Hearing Wrap Up: Biden Administration’s Pause on LNG Permits Driven by Election-Year Politics, Brings Significant Risk to U.S. Foreign Energy Policy

WASHINGTON – The Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs held a hearing today titled, “Oversight of the Biden Administration’s Pause on Liquified Natural Gas Exports.” At the hearing, members pressed the Biden Administration official testifying before the subcommittee on the inherent political nature behind the Department of Energy’s (DOE) pause in permitting of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exports and highlighted how the permitting pause drives geopolitical risk for the U.S. and forces our allies abroad to seek energy from hostile foreign governments. 

Key Takeaways:

The Biden Administration’s justification and timing of the DOE’s pause on new permitting for LNG exports to non-Free Trade Agreement countries is rooted in election-year politics and contrary to U.S. domestic interests.

  • Subcommittee Chairman Fallon (R-Texas): “Why then is the Biden Administration willing to say goodbye to one of the most important tools in the tool shed for reducing emissions? The liquified natural gas pause sends the wrong message to the world, as do other clearly political decisions against U.S. energy interests. For the record we should note that this pause, this ban will only be lifted after the November elections this year.”

The Biden Administration’s LNG pause endangers U.S. geopolitical alliances—specifically forcing allies to procure energy from hostile powers like Russia—and impacts the global energy markets.

  • Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy’s for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, admitted that U.S. Energy producers he has spoken to are alarmed by the DOE’s permitting pause which contradicts messaging from the White House: “The LNG companies are concerned about the decision.”

  • Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), who was waived onto the Subcommittee, highlighted the geopolitical consequences of the Biden Administration’s partisan pause on LNG permits which has led our allies to seek energy from hostile foreign powers: “Prior to the [executive branch’s] interference, the American LNG industry had been feeding reliable, affordable, clean energy to our allies across the world. And because of various interruptions that have been planned and calculated, interruptions to American energy production, and dominance, and export, our European allies have had to rely on other sources for their raw energy products to power their grids across the continent…the reliability of that supply chain has been crippled by Biden Administration policy decisions.”

Member Highlights:

Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs Chairman Pat Fallon (R-Texas) pressed the Department of Energy witness on contradictory claims made by President Biden on his Administration’s LNG permitting pause.

Subcommittee Chairman Fallon: “Do you believe that President Biden is completely aware that there is a 100% pause on new permits being issued for LNG exports to non-FTA countries?”

Mr. Crabtree: “We have deferred decisions on only those pending applications that are above the authorized levels of 48 billion cubic feet, that’s been the decision.”

Subcommittee Chairman Fallon: “Do you believe that he is completely aware of that decision?”

Mr. Crabtree: “The entire Administration I believe I aware of that.” 

Subcommittee Chairman Fallon: “I find it interesting that when Speaker Johnson spoke to the President about this issue, President Biden said that he was ‘completely unaware’ and said that ‘we haven’t done that’. So that is interesting and alarming at the same time.”

Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) drilled down on the shaky justification rolled out by the White House to order the permitting pause and got to the real reason, being election-year-politics, why the pause was enacted and how hostile nations like Russia stand to benefit.

Rep. Waltz: “But in the time I have remaining [DOE] is saying [the permitting process] is fine, the process is fine, but then in six months we need to update everything. And let me tell you what a lot of American people are-.”

Mr. Crabtree: “That’s not what I said.” Rep. Waltz: “But that’s what has been done and I’ll tell you what people suspect, we suspect that this is an election year. We suspect that this is a political play to the base and let me just tell you, you have industry estimating that global demand for LNG could rise as much as 50 percent by 2040. And the thing that concerns me is that Russian LNG exports to the EU have grown since 2021, they are selling as much as they always did through China and through India.”

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