Court blocks Biden admin’s ban on new LNG exports

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A federal judge issued a ruling Monday that blocks the Biden administration’s ban on new exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) following a challenge by a group of more than a dozen states.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division granted the multi-state coalition’s request for a preliminary injunction that prevents the ban on new LNG export projects from taking effect while the case plays out.

“This is a big win for the country’s energy industry and the millions of jobs it supports against the attacks from the Biden administration to further its radical climate change agenda at the expense of our economy,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement.

“This administration’s Energy Department has no such authority to justify this ban – authority on matters like this lies with Congress and Congress alone,” he added.

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WHITE HOUSE HALTS ENORMOUS NATURAL GAS PROJECTS IN VICTORY FOR ENVIRONMENTALISTS

On January 26, the Biden administration stopped all new approvals of LNG exports to non-Free Trade Agreement countries immediately, although previously-approved projects were unaffected by the move. 

The White House and Energy Department explained at the time that the pause would give federal officials an opportunity to conduct a rigorous environmental review to assess the impact of new LNG projects on carbon emissions – a process they said would take over a year to complete.

“The U.S. Department of Energy disagrees with today’s ruling,” a spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “The Department continues to review the court’s order and evaluate next steps.”

US LED THE WORLD IN LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG) EXPORTS IN 2023

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Opponents of the move argue that the administration’s action comes in contrast to a presumption in favor of exports under the Natural Gas Act, as well as decades of Energy Department policies and the reliance of energy-producing states and private industry on exports.

West Virginia was among 22 states that sent a letter in February to the Biden administration calling for an end to the pause on LNG exports.

BUSINESS GROUPS FROM US, EUROPE AND JAPAN PUSH BACK ON BIDEN LNG PERMIT PAUSE

The coalition’s motion argued that the ban on new LNG export projects threatened jobs and tax revenue that states like West Virginia receive from natural gas produced in their states.

The court agreed with that argument, saying that states had demonstrated there was “evidence of harm” caused by the ban “specifically to Louisiana, Texas, and West Virginia in the loss of revenues, market share, and deprivation of a procedural right.”

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Last year, the U.S. led the world in LNG exports with over 86 million metric tons exported to customers abroad. Europe is the primary export destination of LNG shipped from the U.S., followed by Asia, according to LSEG data.

FOX Business’ Grady Trimble and Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.

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