A federal court lifted the Biden administration’s pause on approvals for new natural gas export terminals on Monday.

Judge James Cain Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, who was appointed to his post by former President Donald Trump, ruled to grant an injunction against the administration’s January pause on approvals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals while ongoing litigation plays out. The LNG pause stands as one of President Joe Biden’s most aggressive climate decisions through his first term in office.

Cain’s ruling was issued as part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by a coalition of red states against the federal government for the pause. The White House ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) to pause new approvals for LNG export terminals to countries with which the U.S. does not have a free trade deal while the DOE examines the climate impacts of new export capacity alongside economic and security considerations.

Cain Ruling – LNG by Nick Pope on Scribd

“For the reasons explained herein, the Court finds that the Plaintiff States have standing to assert their claims in this action and as to the preliminary injunction,” Cain’s ruling states. “As to the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, the Court finds that the Plaintiff States are entitled to the Injunctive Relief requested as to the LNG Export Ban. Accordingly, the Court will grant Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and order that the LNG Export Ban be stayed in its entirety, effective immediately.”

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

The administration has characterized the move as an example of its commitment to fighting climate change and also as a means of protecting American consumers from possible domestic price increases, though energy experts and government data have contested these points.

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

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