Another lawsuit filed challenging Biden’s LNG ‘pause’

Published 11:06 am Friday, May 17, 2024

A conservative Louisiana think tank and its legal arm are the latest to challenge President Joe Biden’s pause on new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export facilities.

In January, Biden paused approvals and future applications to export LNG to non-free trade agreement countries to look at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security and environment.

The Pelican Institute for Public Policy and the Liberty Justice Center filed its suit May 16, calling Biden’s pause “unconstitutional and indefensible.”

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Calcasieu Pass 2, a second Venture Global project in Cameron, is one of the biggest projects on pause, and the LNG Center for Excellence at McNeese recently held its groundbreaking in Lake Charles. It will be used for training, research and collaboration on LNG issues.

“In addition to the harm the pause will do to the economy and to tens of thousands of working Americans across the country, it also disregards the federal law, flouts the standard-rule making procedure and threatens our constitutional structure,” said James Baehr, Special Counsel at the Pelican Institute for Public Policy.

“It didn’t go through notice and comment rulemaking, and was released in contravention of the underlying law that required case-by-case analysis of these LNG projects, not a blanket ban,” said Sydney Petite, The Institute.     

The pause is expected to continue through the November election as the Department of Energy updates the underlying analyses for authorizations.

The suit was jointly filed on behalf of the Oil and Gas Association, a trade association with approximately 26,000 members who work in the oil and gas industry.

In March, 16 Republican states, led by Louisiana, sued the federal government to overturn its suspension on issuing new LNG export permits. Challenging states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“As a trade association representing workers in the affected industry, the Oil and Gas Workers Association has a different basis for legal standing than the States, and the Court,” said Petite, spokesperson for The Institute.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and colleagues introduced legislation in February to reverse President Biden’s decision to stop new American liquified gas export approvals.

On Thursday, May 23, Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen, native Louisiana fisher Travis Dardar and director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade Anne Rolfes are expected to call on the Biden administration to extend the current pause indefinitely. Nearly 75 U.S. lawmakers from Biden’s Democratic party praised his pause on approvals of LNG, saying it would protect Americans from pollution and potential higher prices, according to a Reuters report.