The Biden administration is putting radical decarbonization goals ahead of energy security to appease its radical environmentalist backers.

Last month, President Joe Biden capitulated to pressure from climate activists and young TikTokers who threatened to protest him and his administration unless they delay future permits for new liquified natural gas export projects. If left unchallenged, upward of 17 projects could be delayed needlessly. 

To justify this decision and the harm it will do to America’s energy security, the White House claimed it is not in the “public interest” to approve infrastructure projects that don’t account for climate risks informed by environmental, social, and governance posturing. They couldn’t be more misinformed in their reasoning.

Much to the chagrin of the Biden administration, LNG projects are very much in the public interest.

Natural gas makes up about 30% of energy use in the United States. Simply put, LNG is natural gas in liquid form. People like using this because it is a clean, accessible, and reliable source of energy with multiple purposes, including home heating and cooking. 

Studies also show U.S. LNG exports reduce global emissions because they displace the use of foreign fuel sources that come with a greater carbon footprint. By rushing to phase out natural gas, the administration is harming our quality of life and the environment.

This decision to pause LNG exports also has vast national security implications. During the first half of 2023, U.S. LNG exports exceeded 11.6 billion cubic feet per day, making us the top exporter of LNG globally. Because our nation has been producing so much product, the Trump administration dubbed LNG “molecules of freedom” and offered other nations to buy from us. And they willingly did and do today.

By pausing future LNG projects, the Biden administration essentially ceded this source of energy to adversaries such as Russia and Iran who boast poor environmental and human rights track records. For instance, the U.S. was supplying European allies with LNG to help them cut their reliance on Russian oil and gas in the wake of the country’s rogue invasion of Ukraine. One European Union official remarked in September 2023: “We will need some fossil molecules in the system over the coming couple of decades. And in that context, there will be a need for American energy.” Naturally, the news of Biden’s LNG permitting suspension isn’t being positively received in Europe. 

It is unprecedented to see the Energy Department assess energy projects on ESG grounds. But it’s not the first department to consider climate or environmental justice posturing in project assessments. In February 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced it was mulling climate considerations for approving or denying future LNG projects but backed down after receiving widespread criticism from politicians and industry professionals. The DOE would be wise to follow FERC’s lead and reconsider here. 

Natural gas, like oil and coal, has a place in society. And Americans, like their global counterparts, still heavily rely on fossil fuels despite the Biden administration’s whole-of-government sustainable energy push. 

Therefore, approving more LNG export projects is within the public interest to sustain the economy and promote reliable, clean energy around the globe.