Unlawful, Harmful, and Detrimental
A group of attorneys general, led by Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, wrote a letter challenging President Biden’s decision to put a pause on permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities. They argue that the pause is unlawful, harmful to the economy, and detrimental to national security. The attorneys general claim that the pause empowers Iran and Russia while hindering the country’s ability to protect itself.
Time to Change Course
The attorneys general call on the Biden administration to reverse its decision and end the pause on LNG exports. They argue that the administration does not have to continue down an unlawful path that harms economic and national security interests. The letter emphasizes that there is still time to change course and make a different decision.
Environmental Review and Activist Pressure
In late February, President Biden ordered a pause on permits for LNG export facilities, citing the need for a rigorous environmental review. This decision has been seen as a victory for activists who have been calling for such a move. The review process could take more than a year to complete. The president stated that the pause is part of his climate agenda and addresses the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis.
Unidentified Authority and Legal Concerns
The attorneys general argue that the Department of Energy (DOE) failed to identify the authority under which it is pausing LNG exports. They claim that the agency lacks the power to act without congressional authorization. The attorneys general also question the use of the 1938 Natural Gas Act to justify the pause, stating that the agency is denying export applications based on environmental concerns without proper analysis.
Unreasonable Delay and Lack of Public Comment
The attorneys general argue that the DOE’s pause on LNG exports may constitute an “unreasonable delay” and a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. They claim that the agency is required to issue permits under the Natural Gas Act and should not indefinitely pause the process. Additionally, they criticize the lack of a public comment period before implementing the pause.
National Security and Economic Implications
The attorneys general and Republican lawmakers argue that the DOE’s moratorium on LNG exports weakens national security and emboldens countries like Russia, which are major producers of natural gas. They point out that LNG exports are crucial for helping American allies reduce their dependence on Russian gas. The industry also highlights the economic benefits of LNG exports, including job creation and increased purchasing power.
A Reckless Decision
The attorneys general conclude their letter by stating that the Biden administration’s decision to pause LNG exports is both illegal and irrational. They express concern that the decision harms national security and urge the administration to reverse its stance.