Biden's new stance on natural gas export permits sparks debate

President Biden halts new natural gas export permits amid environmental concerns, stirring a mix of reactions.

Jonathan Thompson reports for High Country News.


In short:

  • The Biden administration's temporary freeze on new natural gas export permits is seen as a significant stand against the fossil fuel industry, as it reviews the environmental impacts.
  • This decision has caused a divide, with climate advocates applauding the move, while some political figures and the fossil fuel industry decry it as detrimental to American energy.
  • The life cycle of LNG, from extraction to export, is fraught with environmental challenges, including significant methane emissions and energy consumption.

Key quote:

"Um, I think we all just won. ... This is the biggest thing a U.S. president has ever done to stand up to the fossil fuel industry."

— Bill McKibben, climate advocate

Why this matters:

Critics argue that pausing LNG exports could have unintended consequences, such as increasing global reliance on coal, which is more polluting than natural gas, thereby potentially increasing global carbon emissions. This concern is especially relevant in countries without immediate or feasible alternatives to natural gas for power generation and heating. Environmental advocates, however, support the administration's cautious approach, emphasizing the need for a thorough review of LNG exports' impacts on climate change and domestic energy prices.

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