Cassidy: Lifting Biden’s pause on gas export projects ‘big win for state’

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy applauded the recent ruling of federal Judge James D. Cain Jr. during a special news conference Wednesday. Cain granted a preliminary injunction this week on the U.S. Department of Energy’s pause of non-free trade agreement export permit authorizations.

“It’s a big win for Louisiana,” Cassidy said, calling the freeze “absurd,” and the reasoning behind it – for the sake of the environment – as “shaky legal reasoning.

Natural gas is principally responsible for lower carbon emissions now than in 1998, Cassidy said.

“When you unleash the energy of Louisiana’s natural gas, you boost the economy, strengthen security, deny income to Russia and the more the world uses natural gas instead of their coal, the lower carbon emissions. Why would Biden stand in the way of that?”

Cassidy, who worked as a medical doctor before taking office, said he wants to see the president take a cognitive test and release the findings to the public.

The LNG freeze has placed $61 billion in projects in Southwest Louisiana in limbo, according to Cassidy.

Cassidy said there will be an appeal of Cain’s ruling, and he expects the 5th Circuit to strike down Biden’s pause.

“When they don’t see good law and good facts, they toss it out,” Cassidy said.

George Swift, SWLA Alliance CEO/president, said Cain’s ruling gives hope that Southwest Louisiana can get moving on the projects, but the decision — while appreciated — will probably be appealed.

Lake Area Industry Alliance Executive Director Jim Rock said Louisiana was not the only state that opposed the Department of Energy’s decision to pause new LNG start-ups not part of free trade agreements with the United States. Sixteen others joined in.

“The pause interrupted our ability to provide clean burning natural gas to our allies as they continue to transition from other energy sources,” Rock said. “Billions of dollars of investment, thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in sales and property tax for Southwest Louisiana were put on hold by the DOE.”

Commonwealth LNG is one of the companies ready to construct a facility in Cameron Parish when the pause is lifted.

“We view the ruling as the most significant development since the DOE announced the pause,” said Lyle Hanna of Commonwealth LNG.

Prior to the pause, the DOE had been reviewing Commonwealth’s export authorization application for an “unprecedented period —four years after our initial application and 435 days since we received our Certificate of Authorization by the unanimous vote of the Federal Energy Commission,” Hanna said. “We believe the court’s ruling is a positive step in expediting the completion of such deliberations.”

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