After moving to pause approval of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export hubs, the White House touted the support of a hardline environmental activist group that has targeted Biden administration officials and elected Democrats in recent months.
The White House included Climate Defiance’s laudatory statement on the administration’s decision to pause approvals of new and pending LNG export terminals in a “what are they saying” blog post published Saturday. Among others, the group has conducted disruptive protests targeting Vice President Kamala Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi, as well as Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
“This is monumental. This is utterly, utterly, monumental. On this day, January 26, 2024, President Joseph R. Biden took a big step towards banning all new gas exports,” reads the Climate Defiance X post cited by the White House. “This is the most significant move any President has ever made on stopping fossil fuels.”
The administration paused LNG export terminal approvals to widen the scope of its reviews of the projects to include climate impacts alongside economic and national security effects on Friday. The move is a potential first step toward killing massive export hubs like the Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) project in Louisiana, and it was met with near-universal praise from the environmentalist movement.
However, the decision will not bring down emissions and it is likely to empower foreign LNG producers like Russia and Qatar, energy sector experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday. Climate Defiance met with John Podesta, the senior adviser to the president for clean energy innovation and implementation, in December 2023 and discussed their desire to see the Biden administration kill CP2.
White House officials also reportedly met with a 25-year old TikTok influencer who uses social media to advocate against LNG export terminals ahead of announcing the approval pause.
Apart from the protests targeting Harris, Buttigieg, Zaidi, Granholm, Klobuchar and Manchin, the group also confronted Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in October 2023 and crashed the House office building in July 2023, a stunt that led to nine arrests.
Climate Defiance is one of numerous confrontational eco-activism groups that receives funding from Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), a nonprofit which receives tax-deductible donations from many wealthy American liberals, including Hollywood writer Adam McKay, “Succession” actor Jeremy Strong and Onward Together, the charitable foundation of failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to CEF’s 2022 annual report.
Other groups included in the White House’s “what they are saying” roundup include WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Climate Power and the Sunrise Movement. Bill McKibben, a prominent eco-activist who has founded two groups of his own, is also cited.
Neither Climate Defiance nor the White House responded immediately to requests for comment.
Nick Pope on January 28, 2024