Biden's LNG permit freeze challenged by 16 states in new lawsuit

Lake Charles, Louisiana - Texas and 15 other states filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging the Biden administration's freeze on new liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

Texas, Louisiana, and 14 other states are challenging the Biden administration's pause on new LNG exports in court.
Texas, Louisiana, and 14 other states are challenging the Biden administration's pause on new LNG exports in court.  © Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

Citing the climate crisis, Democratic President Joe Biden in January paused the granting of new permits to ship LNG abroad.

"This pause on new LNG approvals sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time," Biden said at the time.

The United States only began exporting LNG in 2016 but rapidly became the world's biggest supplier, driven in part by Europe turning away from Russian gas following its invasion of Ukraine.

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Texas, the leading US producer of crude oil and natural gas, and 15 other Republican-led states filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Louisiana on Thursday opposing the move.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton denounced what he called the Biden Administration's "unlawful and indefinite ban on approving applications to export liquified natural gas."

"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," Paxton said in a statement.

Biden seeks to shore up youth voter support

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his administration’s actions to address the climate crisis.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his administration’s actions to address the climate crisis.  © SAUL LOEB / AFP

The ban on new LNG export approvals comes as Biden looks to shore up youth voters energized by environmental issues in a tough White House rematch.

He will likely face Republican candidate Donald Trump, who calls human-caused global warming a "hoax" and has vowed to torpedo his Democratic opponent's climate agenda.

Under the Biden plan, new LNG export applications would be subject to a review of unspecified length that considers climate and wider environmental and economic impacts.

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It would imperil the future of more than a dozen planned export facilities.

Scientists and environmental activists welcomed the review, which excludes plants already approved but not yet built and has exceptions for national security emergencies.

Cover photo: Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

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