Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden.

Editor’s note: on Jan. 26, President Joe Biden put a pause on approvals of new liquefied gas exports, throwing a serious monkey wrench into what has been one of the largest economic success stories in American history, going from zero exports to world leader in about a decade, and in the process of doing so, displacing coal at the other end of the export chain. Here’s the Whitehouse’s backgrounder, verbatim. 

President Biden has been clear that climate change is the existential threat of our time – and we must act with the urgency it demands to protect the future for generations to come. That’s why, since Day One, President Biden has led and delivered on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, which is lowering energy costs for hardworking Americans, creating millions of good-paying jobs, safeguarding the health of our communities, and ensuring America leads the clean energy future.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing a temporary pause on pending decisions on exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to non-FTA countries until the Department of Energy can update the underlying analyses for authorizations. 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. Today, we have an evolving understanding of the market need for LNG, the long-term supply of LNG, and the perilous impacts of methane on our planet. 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 pause, which is subject to exception for unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies, will provide the time to integrate these critical considerations.

The U.S. is already the number one exporter of LNG worldwide – with U.S. LNG exports expected to double by the end of this decade. At the same time, the U.S. remains unwavering in our commitment to supporting our allies around the world. Today’s announcement will not impact our ability to continue supplying LNG to our allies in the near-term. Last year, roughly half of U.S. LNG exports went to Europe, and the U.S. has worked with the E.U. to successfully economize consumption and manage its storage to ensure that unprovoked acts of aggression cannot threaten its supply. Furthermore, in 2022, the E.U and U.S. pledged to work toward the goal of ensuring additional LNG volumes for the E.U. market – with the U.S. exceeding our annual delivery targets to the E.U. in each of the past two years. Through existing LNG production and export infrastructure, the U.S. has – and will continue – to deliver for our allies.

As Republicans in Congress continue to deny the very existence of climate change while attempting to strip their constituents of the economic, environmental and health benefits of the President’s historic climate investments, the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to lead the way in ambitious climate action while ensuring the American economy remains the envy of the world.

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Biden-Harris Administration’s Top Climate Accomplishments:

  1. Signed into law the largest climate investment in history, the Inflation Reduction Actwhich has already created 210,000 new jobs across nearly every state and attracted more than $200 billion in private clean energy investments ($365 billion since President Biden took office), while putting the U.S. on a path to meet our climate goals and reach 80% clean energy by 2030 – in addition to securing the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and CHIPS and Science Act
  2. Established a whole-of-government strategy to tackle methane emissions – from plugging wells and leaks in the oil and gas sector, to reclaiming abandoned coal mines, to reducing food waste and agricultural emissions, and finalized a historic rule to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations by nearly 80%, delivering billions of dollars in health and economic benefits
  3. Launched the American Climate Corps to mobilize a new, diverse generation of Americans – putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice, all while creating pathways to high-quality, good-paying jobs
  4. Advancing the most ambitious environmental justice agenda in history, including by signing a historic Executive Order that calls on the federal government to bring clean energy and healthy environments to all and mitigate harm to those who have suffered from toxic pollution and other environmental burdens like climate change; delivering on the Justice40 initiative, which is ensuring that the benefits of President Biden’s historic investments in America – from clean energy projects to floodwater protections – reach communities that need them most; replacing lead pipes and taking action to protect communities from PFAS pollution; accelerating Superfund cleanups; tightening air quality enforcement near pollution facilities; and more

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  5. Protected 26 million acres of lands and waters – on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history – including five new national monuments that include protections for lands in Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and most recently, the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona; initiating new national marine sanctuaries as part of the President’s goal of conserving 30% of lands and waters by 2030, delivering billions of dollars to accelerate land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts in all 50 states, territories, the District of Columbia, and Tribal nations; and more
  6. Canceled remaining oil and gas leases issued by the previous administration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, proposed protections for more than 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, and withdrew approximately 2.8 million acres of the Beaufort Sea, ensuring the entire United States Arctic Ocean is off limits to new oil and gas leasing
  7. Signed an Executive Order that sets an ambitious target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions, while proposing strongest-ever limits on tail pipe emissions and issuing fuel economy standards, giving Americans more choices about the cars they drive, and saving Americans hundreds of dollars at the pump
  8. Proposed carbon pollution standards for coal and gas-fired power plant emissions that would avoid hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions and protect people’s health
  9. Accelerated permitting of clean energy projects, including 47 projects on public lands that total 11.2 megawatts of wind, solar and geothermal energy on public lands – enough to power more than 3.5 million homes, and broke ground on 10 major transmission projects, which are slated to connect 19.5 gigawatts of new generation to the grid
  10. Rallied world leaders to raise global climate ambition, including by securing commitments from more than 155 countries to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030, joining leaders at COP28 to commit, for the first time, to transition away from fossil fuels, end new unabated coal capacity globally, and agree to triple renewable energy globally by 2030
  11. Invoked the Defense Production Act using emergency authority on the basis of climate change to increase domestic production of key clean energy technologies, such as solar, transformers and electric grid components, and heat pumps

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Biden delays consideration of new natural gas export terminals, citing climate risk

CAPP reacts to Biden pushing pause on new LNG export terminal approvals