(The Center Square) – The Biden administration’s decision to freeze the approval of new export sites for liquefied natural gas is facing a growing contingent of critics.
A coalition of about 150 House Republicans sent a letter to Biden over the weekend, blasting the decision, and arguing that both Democratic and Republican administrations have backed the gas exports, which bring tens of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.
House Energy and Commerce Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a leader on the letter, announced a hearing Tuesday on the issue, saying Biden’s freeze “jeopardizes American energy security, jobs, and the economy.”
“This latest attack on energy production is a political decision to appease radical climate activists at the expense of our energy security and the security of our allies,” she said in a joint statement with Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan. “If President Biden were serious about environmental stewardship, he would unleash the production and export of clean, affordable, and reliable American natural gas – which has allowed us to reduce emissions more than any other nation.”
A handful of House Democrats also have publicly raised concerns with the freeze.
Daniel Turner, executive director of Power the Future, a pro-energy workers advocacy group, compared this decision to Biden’s draining of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which helped bring gas prices down but left many critics saying the U.S. was vulnerable because the reserves had gone so low.
“Biden will do anything, regardless of national security or economic consequences, to help his political fortunes. And looking at his poll numbers and favorability, one can only conclude Biden’s actions will get more drastic the closer we get to November,” Turner told The Center Square. “Biden assured us ‘adults are in charge’ and yet he made this decision at the prodding of a 25-year-old TikTok climate influencer. Will stand up comedians and late night TV hosts be consulted next? This level of unserious and childish policy making has made America weak and poor.”
Biden’s administration has said it wants to consider the environmental and climate change impact of the increased export sites. The U.S. is currently the top exporter of liquefied natural gas, and exports are expected to double by 2030, according to the White House.
“We also must adequately guard against risks to the health of our communities, especially frontline communities in the United States who disproportionately shoulder the burden of pollution from new export facilities,” the White House said in a statement. “The pause, which is subject to exception for unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies, will provide the time to integrate these critical considerations.”
Turner argued the decision has political motives for Biden, who faces a tough reelection bid this year, likely against his 2020 opponent, former President Donald Trump.
“Biden’s campaign is separate for the green billionaire class to write re-election checks,” Turner added. “The decision to punish LNG is not based on science or on markets: it’s a pure political decision to appease Bloomberg, Steyer, and Soros so they’ll cough up millions. It’s why this decision was made now. All that matters is the election from here on out. America will take a backseat to his quest to keep the White House.”