Cruz, Cassidy, Senate Republicans Blast Biden Administration for Playing Politics with U.S. Energy
Administration is Deliberately Pausing U.S. LNG Export Permitting to Court Radical Environmental Voters
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) led 25 Republican colleagues in blasting the Biden administration for pausing all pending non-Free Trade Agreement countries (FTA) export permit applications at the behest of the radical climate lobby. The letter to President Biden and Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm comes in response to the administration’s announcement to suddenly re-evaluate the criteria to approve permits for liquified natural gas (LNG) export projects.
At least two Texas-based LNG projects, Port Arthur LNG and Corpus Christi Liquefaction LNG, are currently awaiting approval of their export licenses for non-FTA countries. Additional delay could jeopardize a positive Final Investment Decision (FID) for these projects.
About the pause Sen. Cruz said, “This announcement is another blatant attack in the Biden administration’s day 1 campaign against America’s oil and gas industry and the American workers who sustain it. The Biden administration has always been controlled by the fringes of the Democrat Party, including radical climate activists, and that control is only deepening as the 2024 election approaches. This move is environmentally damaging, because U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) displaces dirtier foreign options, and is geopolitically reckless, because it is guaranteed to undermine European energy security and increase dependence on Russia.
“Last year, I introduced the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act to expedite the federal approval process for exporting LNG. This was after I successfully negotiated with the administration to approve LNG export licenses. I will continue working tirelessly for American energy and jobs.”
Sen. Cruz has championed Texas and American LNG exports. In April and December of 2022, Sen. Cruz successfully negotiated with the administration to approve four major licenses for companies to export LNG abroad in exchange for releasing holds on nominees, altogether allowing for 40 million metric tons of LNG per year to be exported to countries without free trade agreements with the U.S. Sen. Cruz has introduced legislation to streamline permitting for all energy development on federal lands and waters, expedite natural gas exports, and partnered with Sen. Manchin to halt the Biden administration’s ban on gas stoves.
In the letter, the senators wrote, “We write to express deep concerns with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) review of criteria necessary to approve permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects and the potential pause to all pending non-FTA export permit applications. This ‘LNG Plan’ drafted without input from Congress could have significant economic, environmental, and national security consequences domestically and globally. It would be reckless to jeopardize our advantage, especially in a world where energy is frequently being used as a geopolitical weapon.”
Sens. Cruz and Cassidy were joined by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mo.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and John Kennedy (R-La.) in signing the letter.
Read the full letter here or below:
Dear President Biden and Secretary Granholm,
We write to express deep concerns with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) review of criteria necessary to approve permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects and the potential pause to all pending non-FTA export permit applications. This “LNG Plan” drafted without input from Congress could have significant economic, environmental, and national security consequences domestically and globally. It would be reckless to jeopardize our advantage, especially in a world where energy is frequently being used as a geopolitical weapon.
U.S. LNG exports have served as a vital lifeline for countries in Europe and across the globe. Nearly half of U.S. LNG exports have been delivered to Europe to date, with a significant increase in exports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. When European imports of LNG increased by 60 percent in 2022, U.S. LNG met that demand.
Without U.S. LNG exports, European leaders would have to decide between depriving their own citizens of energy or actively funding Russia’s war on Ukraine. Moreover, in December 2023, Russia exported LNG at record levels. Russia is also in the process of dramatically expanding its future LNG export capacity.
Now, Iran-backed forces have provoked a second war in the Middle East and are threatening shipping lanes through which LNG is shipped to Europe and Asia. At the same time, Iran is seeking to benefit from the war by ramping its own domestic LNG exports to displace the very supplies it helped to disrupt.
American LNG exports have enhanced our geopolitical influence and international energy security across the board since 2016. In addition to Europe, U.S. LNG has a significant impact on energy security in Asia. Japan and South Korea have been the top two destinations for importing U.S. LNG. Taiwan also imports U.S. LNG, and India is rapidly increasing its imports as well. According to EIA, the four Asian countries accounted for one-fifth of U.S. LNG exports between January and October of 2023. Stable and secure supplies of U.S. LNG are critical to their energy security.
LNG exports from the United States are also uniquely suited to decrease global emissions. Both China and India, two of the largest polluters globally, are top destinations for U.S. LNG exports. Efforts to limit the export of LNG from the United States thus directly undermines the ability to reduce emissions through the use of clean-burning natural gas.
Limiting U.S. LNG exports do not have any impact on the world’s demand for natural gas. Instead, countries including Russia and Iran will simply produce more energy that is subject to less stringent environmental regulations. As a result, limiting American LNG exports in the name of stopping climate change could do just the opposite and add to global emissions.
Finally, the export of U.S. LNG provides significant economic benefits across the country. According to an ICF study, increased exports of U.S. LNG could create more than 450,000 jobs and increase GDP by $73 billion. Given the recent growth in the domestic LNG industry, those benefits could be even greater today and in the future.
We strongly urge you to stop this shortsighted effort. As the President of the United States and as the Secretary of Energy, you should be championing – not undermining – American LNG exports and the environmental, economic, and national security benefits to the United States and our allies.