Federal Court Lifts Biden Admin’s Pause on Liquified Natural Gas Exports

After a federal court lifted the policy in the first week of July, energy sector experts and a prominent environmental organization said the Biden administration doesn’t seem to be planning to approve new LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) export hubs.

Following the White House’s January moratorium on LNG export terminal approvals, former President Donald Trump appointee Judge James Cain Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana blocked the administration’s pause on Monday. But, experts warn that the government is not likely to approve export capacity, notwithstanding the verdict.

Judge Cain called the policy illogical.

The White House instructed the DOE to halt LNG export licenses while it studies climate consequences. This was one of the White House’s major climate actions, but experts said it would boost foreign LNG producers that are far less clean than American ones.

David Blackmon, a four decades-long oil and gas expert, doubts that the directive will help developers and exporters. He doubts the verdict will hinder the Biden administration. The ideological subordinates may circumvent the judge’s decision administratively. Since it was a presidential election year political bribe to Biden’s environmental activist constituency, the DOE and White House won’t act.

Industry groups praised Cain’s verdict.

Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA), has expressed his satisfaction with the recent court decision lifting the moratorium on the issuance of LNG export permits. Since American natural gas has ensured energy security for both local and global demands, he thinks the judge’s verdict is correct.

American Exploration and Production Council CEO Anne Bradbury said the decision was right, and President Biden’s block on LNG export authorization was irrational. For the sake of the economy, national security, and international efforts to reduce emissions, Bradbury has pleaded with the government to speed up new American LNG projects.

Institute for Energy Research senior scholar Dan Kish, on the other hand, is doubtful that the Biden administration will change its policy because of the ruling.