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Biden Administration Halts Approvals of New LNG Export Projects

The Biden Administration said on Friday it is pausing all pending decisions on U.S. LNG export projects until the Department of Energy can update the underlying analyses for authorizations.

The move was hailed as a “historic win” by environmentalists and slammed as “a win for Russia” by the U.S. oil lobby.

During the temporary pause – which is expected to affect four planned LNG export projects – DOE will carry out a new updated review on the impact of such projects on health and communities.  

“The current economic and environmental analyses DOE uses to underpin its LNG export authorizations are roughly five years old and no longer adequately account for considerations like potential energy cost increases for American consumers and manufacturers beyond current authorizations or the latest assessment of the impact of greenhouse gas emissions,” the White House said in a statement.

The pause in approvals, which is subject to exceptions for unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies, will provide the time to integrate these critical considerations, the Administration said.

President Joe Biden commented, “During this period, we will take a hard look at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security, and our environment.”

The news of the pause was welcomed by Ben Jealous, head of the Sierra Club, who said that the “bold” decision is a “historic win” and “continues this administration’s historic efforts to meet the global commitment to phase out fossil fuels and confront the climate crisis head on.”

American Petroleum Institute (API) President and CEO Mike Sommers said the LNG permit pause “is a win for Russia and a loss for American allies, U.S. jobs and global climate progress.”

“There is no review needed to understand the clear benefits of U.S. LNG for stabilizing global energy markets, supporting thousands of American jobs and reducing emissions around the world by transitioning countries toward cleaner fuels. This is nothing more than a broken promise to U.S. allies, and it’s time for the administration to stop playing politics with global energy security.”

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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