House Republicans launch second probe into Biden’s LNG export ban

Ari Natter, Bloomberg March 18, 2024

(Bloomberg) – House Republicans have launched a second probe of the Biden administration’s move to pause liquefied natural gas (LNG) export approvals, questioning if election-year politics played a role in the decision.

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability is seeking a trove of documents and communications between the Energy Department and key federal agencies as well as White House aides John Podesta and Ali Zaidi, arguing the move announced by the administration in late January was an attempt to appease liberal advocacy groups opposed to LNG exports ahead of the November presidential election.

“The Biden Administration appears to be weaponizing DOE’s public interest analysis and the administrative state to prolong new LNG export project approvals at the behest of leftist environmental groups,” Republicans on the committee wrote to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Monday in a letter led by Chairman James Comer of Kentucky. “The timing of the decision, in an election year, raises the likelihood that political motivations drove the action.”

The Biden administration announced it was halting new licenses to export LNG abroad so it could study how the shipments affect climate change, the economy and national security amid mounting opposition to LNG export terminals from environmental groups, who fear the facilities could lock in fossil fuel use for decades to come.

The administration has said a new study is needed to reflect the U.S. role as the leading exporter of LNG and that an old analysis didn’t address evolving information about how much methane — the prime ingredient in natural gas — could warm the atmosphere. Some analysts expect the halt to go beyond the election.

The probe by the Oversight Committee, the House’s main investigatory panel, follows an investigation launched last month by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology which is seeking documents from the Energy Department on why the permit  moratorium and study on LNG shipments were needed.

Lead image: U.S. President Joe Biden (Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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