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GOP-Led House Delivers Blow to Biden Climate Agenda By Approving Natural Gas Legislation

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The Republican-led House, with support from a few Democrats, approved legislation that would substantially limit President Joe Biden’s authority when it comes to the permitting of new liquified natural gas projects.

Nine Democrats joined 215 Republicans in favor of the Unlocking Domestic LNG Potential Act, which the House approved 224–200.

Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, chairman of the House Energy Action Team, introduced the legislation on Feb. 1. The legislation aims to reverse Biden’s recent actions, which temporarily halted permits for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects.

“Just last year, President Biden told the Europeans that they needed to get off Russian gas and that the U.S. would supply their liquid natural gas needs. Now that it is an election year, he is reneging on that deal to appease his radical climate base,” Pfluger told Fox News Digital ahead of the vote.

“Two-thirds of the world’s natural gas is produced in four countries: Russia, Iran, the United States, and Qatar. This effective ban on U.S. LNG exports is a gift to Putin and the Iranian regime that just killed three service members with their weapons to the Houthis,” the Texas lawmaker continued. “I am proud to stand up for American jobs when the president seems to only stand up for the interests of Russia and Iran.”

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Some of the most recent issue-related surveys heading into the 2024 election put “climate change” and “the climate” way down the list of top concerns, which include economic worries, the chaotic U.S.-Mexico border, and inflation.

Pfluger highlighted that Russian natural gas is 40 percent dirtier than U.S. gas. He criticized Biden’s recent moratorium on LNG exports, labeling it as a “horrible decision for the environment.”

Fox News added:

If enacted, Pfluger’s bill would amend the Natural Gas Act of 1938, giving the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) exclusive authority to approve or deny applications for the siting, construction, expansion or operation of LNG export projects. 

And in approving or rejecting permits, FERC would be required under the bill to “deem the importation or exportation of natural gas to be consistent with the public interest.”

“Joe Biden would rather appease the radical environmentalists in his party than protect hardworking Americans. House Republicans will not stand idly by while the Biden administration’s Green New Deal agenda destroys American jobs, stifles American energy, and benefits our adversaries,” House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told Fox News Digital in a statement.

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At present, FERC conducts a thorough examination of the economic and environmental aspects of LNG export projects. Subsequently, the Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for evaluating whether these projects, which export LNG to non-free trade agreement countries, align with the national interest and ultimately grants the final approval.

Toward the end of last month, Biden instructed the DOE to halt ongoing permits for LNG export facilities. The pause supposedly allows for a comprehensive environmental assessment as part of the agency’s national interest analysis, focusing on evaluating the carbon emissions of the projects. It could take more than a year for the agency’s study to be completed.

Energy associations, Republicans, and former federal officials have criticized the measures, contending that LNG exports play a vital role in preserving low energy prices in the U.S. Additionally, they argued that such exports aid American allies in reducing dependence on Russian gas and contribute to lowering global carbon emissions. They pointed out that in December, over 87 percent of U.S. LNG exports were directed to Europe, the U.K., or Asian markets, which had previously relied on Russian gas.

“Allies and trading partners around the world rely on clean, reliable, and affordable U.S. natural gas for energy and economic security, and to advance environmental progress through emission reductions,” said Marty Durbin, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, which endorsed Pfluger’s legislation.

“With Europe still relying on Russia for nearly 15 percent of its natural gas consumption, and global demand expected to increase for several decades, continued expansion of U.S. export capacity is essential to American interests,” Durbin added.

Democrats opposed to the legislation claimed that passage would only benefit China, but the statistics don’t support that contention.

“According to the most recent federal data, though, just 6.7% of U.S. LNG exports are shipped to China. The vast majority of exports are sent to Europe, which has relied on U.S. natural gas to wean itself off Russian energy amid the Ukraine war, and other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea,” Fox News reported.

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