White House asked to delay decision on liquefied natural gas export terminal CP2

White House asked to delay decision on liquefied natural gas export terminal CP2

The Biden administration is holding off on a decision on approving the largest natural gas export terminal in the United States, according to three people, a delay that could extend until the November election and spell trouble for that project and 16 other proposed terminals. Can. With information about the case.

The White House is directing the Energy Department to expand its assessment of the project to consider climate change, as well as its impact on the economy and national security, these people said on condition of anonymity because they were unable to discuss the issue publicly. Were not authorized to do. Internal discussions. The Department of Energy has never rejected a proposed natural gas project because of its expected environmental impact.

The move comes as Mr Biden prepares for a contentious re-election campaign. He is appealing to climate voters, especially young activists who helped him win election in 2020 and who have been angered by his administration’s approval of the Willow Project, a massive oil drilling operation in Alaska last year.

This comes even as the United States leads the world in both liquefied natural gas exports and oil and gas production. There are seven export terminals in the country Five more are already under construction.

The project in question, Calcasieu Pass 2, is one of 17 additional terminals that have been proposed by the fossil fuel industry.

Nevertheless, Republicans and former President Donald J. Trump, who is expected to be his party’s choice to challenge Mr. Biden in November, will certainly try to use any delay in permitting against him, accusing Mr. Biden of hindering American energy. Putting in.

“This measure would be a functional ban on new LNG export permits,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said on the Senate floor on Wednesday. “The administration’s fight over affordable home energy has been bad news for American workers and consumers alike.”

Mr Trump, who has mistakenly called global warming a “hoax”, has promised to expand fossil fuel production and dismantle Mr Biden’s climate agenda. “We’re going to drill, baby drill, immediately,” he told voters. After winning the Iowa caucuses earlier this month.

Calcasieu Pass 2, or CP2, will dwarf the country’s existing export terminals. 10 billion dollar project It will be located along a shipping channel that connects the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Charles, LA. It will export up to 20 million tons of natural gas per year, increasing the current amount of US gas exported by about 20 percent.

The project first requires approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before it can be transferred to the Department of Energy for consideration.

The Department of Energy is required to weigh whether an export terminal is in the “public interest”, a subjective determination. But now, the White House has requested additional analysis of CP2’s climate impacts.

Natural gas, which is composed primarily of methane, is cleaner than coal when burned. But methane is a more potent greenhouse gas in the short term than carbon dioxide, and it can leak anywhere in the supply chain, from production wells to processing plants to stovetops. The process of liquefying the gas to make it suitable for transportation is incredibly energy intensive, leading to even greater emissions.

Whatever new criteria will be used to evaluate CP2 will be expected to be applied to the other 16 proposed natural gas terminals that are awaiting approval.

Scientists have strongly argued that nations must cut emissions from burning gas, oil and coal deeply and quickly if humanity is to avoid climate disaster. At the United Nations climate summit in Dubai last month, the United States joined 196 other countries in pledging to move away from fossil fuels.

More than 150 scientists signed A letter of 19 December to Mr. Biden, urging him to reject CP2 and additional proposed facilities. “The size of the proposed LNG buildout over the next several years is staggering,” he wrote. The letter said that approving new terminals would “continue to move us further towards increasing climate chaos”.

Given the scientific imperative, experts say it is appropriate to consider climate impacts before building new gas export terminals.

“There hasn’t really been a need to consider the cumulative climate, economic or market impact of all those facilities until now,” said Ben Cahill, a senior fellow in the energy security and climate change program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Research organization. “And that’s a very legitimate question.”

“It appears the administration could impose a blackout on the entire U.S. LNG industry,” Shaylin Hines, a spokeswoman for Venture Global LNG, the Virginia-based company that wants to build CP2, wrote in an email. Such action would shock global energy markets, trigger economic sanctions, and send a devastating signal to our allies that they can no longer trust the United States.

A delay of several months could jeopardize funding for CP2. Venture Global LNG has other gas export terminals Have already encountered equipment and shipping problems and legal disputes,

That is exactly the hope of climate activists, who launched a social media campaign last fall to urge Mr. Biden to reject CP2.

“We see CP2 as stopping the first fraction of the largest LNG construction ever,” said Alex Harous, a 25-year-old social media influencer from Colorado who has led a TikTok and Instagram campaign aimed at young voters. To urge to demand Mr. , Biden rejected the project. His posts have received nearly 7 million views on TikTok and Instagram.

Ali Zaidi and John Podesta, senior advisers to Mr Biden on climate policy, were also among those who saw the post. Mr. Podesta is also a veteran of climate advocacy and presidential campaigns. Mr. Harous held Zoom meetings with Mr. Zaidi this week and with Mr. Podesta last month to discuss the project, one of several meetings about CP2 between White House climate officials and environmental groups.

Climate activists have compared their CP2 campaign to their successful effort a decade ago to convince President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

In that campaign, climate activist Bill McKibben was able to turn an obscure oil pipeline project that had languished for routine federal approval into a high-profile symbol of Mr. Obama’s commitment to fighting climate change.

The Obama administration found that the pipeline was not “in the public interest” because of the emissions associated with the production of the oil transported through the pipeline.

Mr McKibben has also played a major role in organizing the CP2 campaign.

“Keystone is a great example of how this can work,” Mr. Harous said. “And we will certainly reward or punish him on this decision,” he said, referring to Mr Biden.

Within the White House, there is little disagreement over the decision to delay CP2, people familiar with the discussions said, because it is not seen as a major energy security issue. This is because the United States is already producing and exporting a lot of gas. This capacity will almost double over the next four years, reducing the need for CP2.

American dominance of the natural gas market is a recent story. As of 2016, the United States exported no natural gas. But the expansion of hydraulic fracking led to a tremendous increase in natural gas supply and a new export industry.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States redirected exports from Asia to Europe to help allies that depended on Russian gas.

But Republicans, oil and gas companies and some energy analysts warn that even an abundance of natural gas exports may not be enough to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from using natural gas supplies as a weapon.

“Nobody hates USLNG more than Vladimir Putin,” said Daniel Yergin, vice president of S&P Global and oil industry historian.

Speaking at an energy conference this week, Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents oil and gas companies, said cutting future terminal construction would be harmful to U.S. allies, “especially Europe.” “Those who are desperate for American.” natural gas.”

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