House committee to probe Biden’s LNG export freeze

Ari Natter, Bloomberg February 08, 2024

(Bloomberg) – A House committee is probing the Biden administration’s decision to pause liquefied natural gas (LNG) export approvals, asking the Energy Department to justify why a moratorium on project approvals is needed while the agency conducts a study that could take more than a year.

In a letter sent to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology asks why the department’s study on how LNG shipments affect climate change, the economy and national security is needed and how the analysis will differ from previous studies on the issue. The letter, sent Wednesday, requests a briefing from the agency by March 1.

“The committee has not received or been notified of any scientific justification which would warrant a pause in authorizations or a long-term reanalysis of U.S. LNG exports,” Republican members of the committee, led by its chair, Oklahoma Republican Frank D. Lucas, wrote. “The previous studies were completed without any pause in the permitting process, and it is unclear, beyond a political agenda, why one is needed now.”

The Biden administration announced the export license moratorium late last month amid mounting opposition to LNG export terminals from environmental groups. The administration said the government’s existing analysis was outdated and didn’t reflect evolving information about how much methane — the prime ingredient in natural gas — could warm the atmosphere.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, is also probing the administration’s decision and will holding a hearing on the issue on Thursday at which Deputy Secretary of Energy, David Turk, is slated to appear.

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