The Biden administration is hitting pause on what would be the United States’ largest natural gas export terminal.
The White House has directed the Energy Department to expand its evaluation of the $10 billion Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) project in Louisiana before approving construction. This terminal would dwarf others nationwide, increasing exports of American gas by 20%.
The Biden administration plans to conduct a holistic evaluation of the terminal’s economic, environmental, and social impacts. Their findings could determine not just CP2’s fate, but the fate of 16 other proposed terminals.
Some paint natural gas as a “bridge fuel” that emits less pollution than coal when burned. But consider the impact on the whole supply chain: Extracting gas leaks potent methane, chilling it into liquified natural gas (LNG) guzzles energy, and tankers hauling it overseas spews planet-heating pollution into the air.
Scientists urge phasing down all dirty energy sources to curb rising global temperatures — and over 170 of them directed that urge to President Biden in a Dec. 19 letter, asking him to reject CP2, which “would put us on a continued path toward escalating climate chaos.”
Climate activists on social media have similar sentiments. Alex Haraus, an influencer who has led a TikTok and Instagram campaign to urge young voters to demand Biden reject the project, said voters “absolutely will reward or punish him on this decision.”
Others push Biden to approve the terminal’s construction, citing the need to create affordable domestic energy and give our international allies an alternative to Russian natural gas.
“This move would amount to a functional ban on new LNG export permits,” said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. “The administration’s war on affordable domestic energy has been bad news for American workers and consumers alike.”
Mike Sommers, the president of the American Petroleum Institute, agreed, saying curtailing the construction of future terminals would hurt American allies, “particularly those in Europe who [have been] desperate for American natural gas” ever since Russia invaded Ukraine.
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