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Lankford Sends Scathing Response to Biden Admin Pausing LNG Exports

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), along with their colleagues, sent a letter to the Biden Administration in response to its decision to pause all pending non-Free Trade Agreement export permit applications for liquified natural gas (LNG) at the behest of the radical climate lobby. 

The letter to President Biden and Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm comes in response to the Administration’s announcement that it is reevaluating the criteria to approve permits for LNG export projects. This announcement is incredibly harmful to our nation’s domestic energy production, especially at a time when American LNG exports are soaring as other nations halt imports from Russia. 

“Limiting US LNG exports do not have any impact on the world’s demand for natural gas. Instead, countries including Russia and Iran will simply produce more energy that is subject to less stringent environmental regulations. As a result, limiting American LNG exports in the name of stopping climate change could do just the opposite and add to global emissions,” the Senators wrote. “We strongly urge you to stop this shortsighted effort. As the President of the United States and as the Secretary of Energy, you should be championing – not undermining – American LNG exports and the environmental, economic, and national security benefits to the United States and our allies.”

Lankford, Lummis, and Cassidy were joined by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), J.D. Vance (R-OH), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and John Kennedy (R-LA) in signing the letter.

Background:

  • The Biden Administration has already made a habit of slow walking LNG permits with the average permit taking more than 400 days, a large escalation from the 60 days of the Trump Administration and 90 days of the Obama Administration. 
  • The New York Times reported the Biden Administration consulted with Tik Tok influencers before making the decision. 
  • Qatar, the world’s second leading LNG exporter, is poised to massively benefit from the decision.

Read the full letter here.

Dear President Biden and Secretary Granholm,

We write to express deep concerns with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) review of criteria necessary to approve permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects and the disastrous pause to all pending non-FTA export permit applications. This “LNG Plan” without input from Congress could have significant economic, environmental, and national security consequences domestically and globally. It would be reckless to jeopardize our advantage, especially in a world where energy is frequently being used as a geopolitical weapon.

US LNG exports have served as a vital lifeline for countries in Europe and across the globe. Nearly half of US LNG exports have been delivered to Europe to date, with a significant increase in exports following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. When European imports of LNG increased by 60 percent in 2022, US LNG met that demand.

Without US LNG exports, European leaders would have to decide between depriving their own citizens of energy or actively funding Russia’s war on Ukraine. Moreover, in December 2023, Russia exported LNG at record levels. Russia is also in the process of dramatically expanding its future LNG export capacity.

Now, Iran-backed forces have provoked war in the Middle East and are threatening shipping lanes through which LNG is shipped to Europe and Asia. At the same time, Iran is seeking to benefit from the war by ramping its own domestic LNG exports to displace the very supplies it helped to disrupt.

American LNG exports have enhanced our geopolitical influence and international energy security across the board since 2016. In addition to Europe, US LNG has a significant impact on energy security in Asia. Japan and South Korea have been the top two destinations for importing US LNG. Taiwan also imports US LNG, and India is rapidly increasing its imports as well. According to EIA, the four Asian countries accounted for one-fifth of US LNG exports between January and October of 2023. Stable and secure supplies of US LNG are critical to their energy security.

LNG exports from the United States are also uniquely suited to decrease global emissions. Both China and India, two of the largest polluters globally, are top destinations for US LNG exports. Efforts to limit the export of LNG from the United States thus directly undermines the ability to reduce emissions through the use of clean-burning natural gas.

Limiting US LNG exports does not have any impact on the world’s demand for natural gas. Instead, countries including Russia and Iran will simply produce more energy that is subject to less stringent environmental regulations. As a result, limiting American LNG exports in the name of stopping climate change could do just the opposite and add to global emissions.

Finally, the export of US LNG provides significant economic benefits across the country. According to an ICF study, increased exports of US LNG could create more than 450,000 jobs and increase GDP by $73 billion. Given the recent growth in the domestic LNG industry, those benefits could be even greater today and in the future.

We strongly urge you to stop this shortsighted effort. As the President of the United States and as the Secretary of Energy, you should be championing – not undermining – American LNG exports and the environmental, economic, and national security benefits to the United States and our allies.

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