A coalition of 16 states is suing the Biden administration over its January decision to pause approvals for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export hubs.

The lawsuit, which names President Joe Biden, the Department of Energy (DOE) and high-ranking DOE officials as defendants, seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from the pause, which the White House announced on Jan. 26 to give the DOE time to assess the climate impacts of new LNG export capacity. The states filed their challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, alleging that the federal government broke the law by broadly denying relevant permits.

“The LNG export ban violates the Congressional Review Act, providing further reason to conclude the LNG export ban exceeds the Department’s statutory authority and is not in accordance with law,” the lawsuit states. The filing further contends that the policy is “arbitrary and capricious and unlawful” under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and that it “violates the APA because it was promulgated without notice and comment.”

LNG Export Pause Lawsuit by Nick Pope on Scribd

The states that are suing the administration are Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“Biden’s unilateral decree disregards statutory mandates, flouts the legal process, upends the oil and gas industry, disrupts the Texas economy, and subverts our constitutional structure,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “The ban will drive billions of dollars in investment away from Texas, hinder our ability to maximize revenue for public schools, force Texas producers to flare excess natural gas instead of taking it to market, and annihilate critical jobs.”

The decision will ultimately do nothing to reduce global emissions because it will empower foreign natural gas production in countries that do not produce gas as cleanly as the U.S., energy sector experts previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The administration’s decision was met with applause from the environmental lobby, and White House national climate advisor Ali Zaidi has suggested that concerns about negative geopolitical consequences for the U.S. are overblown because many key allies are transitioning away from fossil fuels in the long-term anyways, especially in Europe. Amos Hochsetin, a key energy advisor in the Biden administration, has similarly implied that the rest of the world may not really need American LNG.

Neither the White House nor the DOE responded immediately to requests for comment.

Nick Pope on March 21, 2024

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