April 20, 2024
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OIL & GAS RENEWABLE ENERGY

House Passes Bill to Reverse Biden’s LNG Pause

A wide view of the United States Capitol building

In a largely party-line vote, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill aimed at curbing President Joe Biden’s authority to freeze approvals of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, effectively reversing the executive arm’s halting of LNG exports.

Sponsored by Representative August Pfluger of gas-producing Texas, the bill passed 224-200 but faces an uncertain future in the Democratic-controlled Senate and potential veto by President Biden.

ClearView Energy Partners, a nonpartisan policy research group, called the bill more of a “messaging effort and a start to debate than an end to the pause,” and said it was unlikely to clear the Senate.

The legislation seeks to transfer the authority to approve LNG exports from the Department of Energy to the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, effectively limiting the administration’s ability to pause approvals as Biden did late last month.

Biden’s decision to halt approvals, citing the need to assess environmental and economic impacts, has drawn criticism from Republicans who argue it will harm job prospects and energy security for U.S. allies.

ALSO READ: U.S. LNG Supplies to Europe Unaffected by Biden’s Pause – EU

However, proponents of the bill, including Pfluger, emphasize the importance of U.S. LNG exports in supporting allies, particularly in Europe, as they seek to reduce reliance on gas from Russia following geopolitical tensions.

Pfluger condemned the pause as “catastrophic” and “politically based,” calling for its immediate reversal to ensure continued support for allies.

On the other hand, Democratic Representative Maxwell Frost said climate advocates who fought LNG projects are heroes. “I can only hope and pray and fight to make sure that we build off” Biden’s pause to “get to a green, clean future.”

Despite the House’s approval, the bill’s prospects in the Senate remain uncertain, with experts suggesting it may face challenges in gaining sufficient support to advance.

Additionally, the White House has signaled its opposition to the bill, though it has not issued a formal veto threat.

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