Bipartisan opposition from Texas Congressional Republicans and Democrats emerges against Biden’s LNG export ban

Texas Republicans and Democrats in Congress are both against President Joe Biden’s plan to prohibit the export of liquified natural gas (LNG).

After announcing the ban, Biden claimed that exports would lead to higher energy costs and increased methane emissions. However, multiple organizations have refuted these claims, citing federal data. In response, a coalition of Texas Democrats has urged the president to reconsider his plan.

Nine Democratic representatives from Texas have called on President Biden and his administration to prioritize policies that bolster the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States. Recognizing Texas as the country’s energy hub, they emphasize the importance of supporting and promoting LNG exports.

According to The Center Square, Texas is at the forefront of various sectors including oil and natural gas production, exports, emissions reductions, energy production, job creation, and economic growth. In fact, the state has been breaking records in these areas. It is worth noting that Texas played a significant role in the United States becoming a net exporter of natural gas in 2017, a feat not achieved since 1957.

In a letter, they expressed their support for the continued prioritization of LNG exports, emphasizing the long-term benefits it brings. They highlighted that LNG exports contribute to affordable, accessible, and sustainable energy resources, which not only foster global stability but also drive the energy transition. According to them, the export of U.S. LNG plays a vital role in the U.S. economy, energy security, and strengthening alliances with U.S. partners worldwide. They further asserted that by leading in global stability and energy resources, the United States sets an example for the world, encouraging strong international partnerships, diversifying energy supplies, and reducing dependence on volatile regions. They believe that the Administration’s support for U.S. LNG is not only advantageous for America but also serves as inspiration for the world’s pursuit of cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

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Ten Texas Democrats, including U.S. Representatives Marc Veasey, Don Davis, Henry Cuellar, Jim Costa, Mary Peltola, Vicente Gonzalez, Lou Correa, Colin Allred, Sylvia Garcia, and Lizzie Fletcher, have signed the letter. It is worth noting that Colin Allred is currently running as a challenger against Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

In a direct response to President Biden’s ban on LNG exports, Republican Representative August Pfluger, who represents west Texas including the key oil and natural gas cities of Midland and Odessa, has introduced the “Unlocking Domestic LNG Potential Act.” This proposed legislation aims to amend the Natural Gas Act by removing all limitations on the import and export of natural gas. Additionally, it would grant exclusive authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve or reject applications for the operation of facilities involved in the import or export of natural gas, including LNG terminals.

FERC, an independent agency, has the responsibility of regulating the wholesale sale and interstate transmission of electricity and natural gas. Additionally, it oversees the prices of petroleum interstate transport through pipelines. Presently, federal law mandates the Department of Energy to promptly approve natural gas exports to Free Trade Agreement countries. However, President Biden’s ban is applicable to non-FTA countries.

According to current regulations, non-FTA export requests must be approved by the Energy secretary, unless they are deemed to be inconsistent with the public interest. Pfluger emphasizes that there is a strong legal presumption that U.S. LNG exports are indeed in the public interest.

According to him, the Department of Energy has already conducted five studies to analyze the impact of U.S. LNG exports. These studies unanimously highlight the positive effects on the U.S. economy and domestic natural gas prices. Additionally, two studies focused on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with LNG exports and found significant environmental benefits. It is worth noting that these studies were carried out during previous administrations that did not impede LNG exports.

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According to Pfluger, the chairman of the RSC House Energy Action Team, President Biden has utilized all available means to hinder the production of American energy. Pfluger criticizes Biden’s recent decision to prohibit future US LNG exports, viewing it as another blow in his attempt to cater to radical climate interest groups. These groups, Pfluger argues, fail to acknowledge the fact that American energy is both the cleanest and most secure option for the United States and its allies. The ban on exports, Pfluger adds, introduces uncertainty and discourages investments that could otherwise generate employment opportunities and expand the natural gas supply.

Pfluger’s bill received bipartisan support in the House, passing with a vote of 224 to 200. It is worth noting that only three Texas Democrats, Cuellar, Gonzalez, and Veasey, voted in favor of the bill.

The co-chair of a bipartisan congressional energy export caucus, Cuellar, along with other members, expressed concerns regarding the potential benefits that Russia and other U.S. adversaries could gain from President Biden’s ban on LNG exports. These concerns were raised following the purchase of LNG from Russia by SEFE, a German-owned company.

In a statement issued together, co-chairs Cuellar and Representatives Carol Miller (R-WV), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Lou Correa (D-CA) expressed their concern about the impact of President Biden’s decision to disrupt exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas on Russia’s advantage. They pointed out that as a result of this unnecessary pause in U.S. LNG exports, Europe is compelled to rely on Russia, while Russia persists in its aggression against Ukraine.

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