On Monday, a federal judge stayed the Biden administration’s decision to pause future liquified natural gas (LNG) export projects deemed to not be of public interest.

Judge Cain, from Louisiana, wrote in his 62-page decision that the policy was “completely without reason or logic” and argued any proposed LNG export “is in the public interest.” 

“LNG exports are governed by the Natural Gas Act (‘NGA’), the purpose of which is to ‘encourage the orderly development of plentiful supplies of electricity and natural gas at reasonable prices,’ ” Cain continued. “The DOE’[s] regulatory authority extends only to imports and exports of natural gas, that is, the act of transporting natural gas to and from the United States. It does not extend upstream to production and downstream to consumption.”

The White House agreed to pause these infrastructure projects following pressure from TikTok climate activists and consultation with an anti-gas Cornell University professor. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm admitted the decision was entirely political and not grounded in any scientific basis. She told CERAWeek attendees back in March, “By the time we meet here at this place next year, it’s going to be long in the rear-view mirror.” 

As I noted in the Washington Examiner earlier this year, pausing natural gas projects cedes U.S. energy domination to our adversaries—who are less environmentally friendly.

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.

Natural gas is an essential energy source, comprising about 30% of energy use in our country. Even the Department of Energy says U.S. LNG exports reduce global emissions by displacing foreign fuel sources that aren’t refined or produced in a clean fashion. 

As electricity demand increases globally, reliable baseload power—including natural gas—will be more essential than ever. The growing energy demand for data centers and artificial intelligence (AI) could propel another natural gas boom, rivaling that of the Shale Revolution

The U.S. is sitting on copious amounts of natural gas. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that “LNG exports [will] increase 2% in 2024 to average 12.2 [billion cubic feet per day] Bcf/d” and “grow by an additional 18% (2.1 Bcf/d)” in 2025. 

IWF’s Center for Energy and Conservation applauds the judge’s decision and hopes LNG export projects will resume in a timely fashion to meet this demand.

To learn more about LNG exports, go HERE.