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Media Contact:

Rebekah Staub, Earthworks, rstaub@earthworks.org

Washington, DC — Today, more than 70 members of Congress sent a letter to President Biden and Secretary Granholm thanking them for pausing the approval of applications for new liquefied methane gas (LNG) exports while the Department of Energy considers the criteria used to determine whether new exports are in the public interest. 

The members of Congress write in the letter

“Once again, thank you for taking this important step to put public health and economic well-being first by pausing the approval of new LNG export authorizations to non-Free Trade Agreement countries. This is an overdue opportunity to examine whether the LNG export boom creates value for the American people or, as we suspect, results in harm while primarily benefitting oil and gas companies that want to ship American LNG overseas for higher profits.”

Key priorities that these members of Congress want to see incorporated into the public interest determination include a test for the economic effects LNG export approvals will have on U.S. consumers, an evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions along the entire LNG export supply chain, on international and domestic climate targets, and for new considerations of LNG exports to follow the spirit of President Biden’s Executive Order on Revitalizing our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All. 

This letter builds on the support from a broad coalition of frontline residents, environmental groups, and stakeholders for the Biden Administration’s pause on new LNG export approvals. In the past year, dozens of members of Congressnational security experts and former senior military leaders, environmental organizationsGulf Coast residentsscientists, and healthcare professionals all sent letters to the Administration showing support for the pause and calling for an end to new LNG export facilities as they are not in the public interest. 

Gulf Coast advocates and environmental groups issued the following statements in support of the letter from members of Congress:

“We applaud these Congressional leaders for sending the Biden Administration a letter celebrating the pause on new LNG export approvals while the Department of Energy considers the full impacts this dangerous fossil fuel has on the public’s health, our economy, and our climate and environmental justice goals,” said Roishetta Sibley Ozane, Founder and Executive Director of the Vessel Project of Louisiana. “For too long, communities forced to live near the petro-chemical industry have faced the disproportionate effects of pollution and climate change, seeing little to no supposed benefits of having these companies operate in their neighborhoods. This pause presents an opportunity for the Biden Administration to prioritize environmental justice and climate action going forward when making decisions about new LNG export approvals. We thank these Congressional leaders for urging the Biden Administration to use this moment to truly chart a new course towards a more sustainable and just future.” 

“We are glad to see such strong Congressional leadership in support of the Biden Administration’s commonsense decision to pause new LNG export approvals so the Department of Energy can re-examine the impacts these exports have on our climate and environmental justice goals, as well as our economy,” said Mahyar Sorour, Sierra Club Director of Beyond Fossil Fuels Policy. “The oil and gas industry has been polluting our communities and raising our energy prices, all while making record-breaking profits at the expense of public health and safety. It is time to change the status quo and put people over these polluting companies.”

“Study after study has shown just how harmful LNG exports are to our climate, health, financial well-being, and national security. The Biden administration has begun to pave a new path forward by reviewing the criteria used to determine if new gas exports are in the public interest,” said Joanie Steinhaus, Ocean Program Director for Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Now we need that path to lead to real change by ensuring DOE is using updated studies and incorporating factors like environmental justice into their decisions. We are grateful to members of Congress who understand what is at stake for our communities and stand with us.” 

“We applaud members of Congress for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with President Biden’s historic decision to pause approvals for new LNG export terminals. Communities in the Gulf have long led the fight against LNG expansion and unjustly borne the brunt of pollution that the federal government has failed to wholly consider in previous LNG infrastructure approvals,” said Mattea Mrkusic, Evergreen Action’s Senior Policy Lead for Energy Transition. “Studies have repeatedly found that LNG is far worse for the climate than previously thought, and pausing approvals of new terminals is a no-brainer to allow decision-makers to fully take stock of their climate impacts. President Biden and the Department of Energy’s LNG review is a deeply necessary step toward accurately measuring the damaging cost of LNG expansion to environmental justice, climate, public health, and American pocketbooks.” 

“Progress Texas celebrates action from the Biden Administration and Secretary Granholm acknowledging Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exports’ harm to American citizens and the environment. We have an interest in ensuring prices stay affordable here at home, that our families are safe from the high and long term costs of LNG on our health and local economies, and of course, not adding more fuel to the fire of our already scorching climate. Sec. Granholm said it best: ‘I understand that some in the industry who may have pending authorization requests are not happy… But our review is in the public interest, and not in the interest just of the oil and gas industry,’” said Kathleen Thompson, Progress Texas Executive Director.

“LNG’s glossy job promises starkly contrast with the grim reality—minimal sustainable jobs and significant ecological and community harm. Our local fishermen are sidelined as LNG facilities ravage marine habitats and deplete fishing grounds. The true cost? Devastating long-term impacts on both our environment and community fabric. We invite the Department of Energy and all congressional offices to visit Louisiana and the Gulf Coast to witness firsthand the false narrative that economic prosperity follows LNG construction, especially in communities already bearing the brunt. We thank these congressional leaders who recognize that more LNG export licenses serve neither the Public Interest, the American people, or the planet.” James Hiatt, Director of For a Better Bayou

“We again thank the Biden Administration for upholding an unprecedented and common sense pause in LNG export terminal approvals until the full environmental and climate impacts can be taken into consideration. Adding climate considerations to the permitting process LNG facilities marks a historic step towards fighting the climate crisis and lowering domestic energy costs being passed on to everyday Americans. We applaud Congressional leaders for fighting against the lobbying and disinformation of the LNG industry and for standing with the President and frontline communities to ensure that these reviews are comprehensive and reflect the full impacts of LNG exports,” said Leah Qusba, Executive Director, Action for the Climate Emergency.

“We applaud these Congressional leaders for supporting the Biden-Harris administration’s pause of new LNG export approvals and for underscoring what a critical opportunity this is for frontline communities, for our climate, and for our economy,” said Leah Donahey, Senior Federal Advocacy Campaigns Director at the League of Conservation Voters. “This decision to examine whether new exports are in the public interest is common sense and must be used to ensure we are looking at the full climate, environmental justice and cost impacts of harmful LNG export infrastructure. This pause underscores how the Biden-Harris administration is standing up to greedy fossil fuel companies and continuing to build on their historic climate leadership.”

“We commend our Congressional leaders for standing in support of our frontline communities by sending a message to President Biden and Secretary Granholm on the value and need of the LNG pause in order to give the Department of Energy time to consider the criteria needed to evaluate the public interest of new LNG export terminals,” said Chispa TX Program Director Elida Castillo. “We have seen many of the impacts to our health, environment, and economy in the short amount of time that these facilities have been operating in our communities and now the effects of rising energy prices are being felt by everyone after the Russia-Ukraine war. Our concerns should be taken seriously over Big Oil’s profits, and this congressional support to give our federal government time to examine the impacts of LNG expansion on our environment and communities is urgently needed and welcome.”

“Those of us who live and work in frontline communities like those in Brazoria County, Texas thank the members of Congress who are supporting the Biden Administration’s pause on new LNG export authorizations. As people living near the dangerous, problem-ridden Freeport LNG plant, we are glad to see these elected officials support the Administration’s action to help protect environmental justice communities on the Gulf Coast,” said Melanie Oldham, Director of Better Brazoria. “The catastrophic explosion at Freeport LNG highlighted the dangers of approving projects without sufficiently trained operators and regulators who are supposed to ensure these facilities operate safely. Our leaders must address these issues to safeguard public health and safety and work to slow down LNG expansion in our overburdened communities.”

“The Biden administration’s update is a sensible move to bring a long-outdated LNG export permitting process up to date, so we stand with these members of Congress in supporting it,” said Alexandra Adams, managing director of government affairs for NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council). “The Department of Energy’s new approach will help ensure we put the public interest ahead of industry’s interests in making decisions about the impacts of LNG on people and communities. And it’s a move anyone who cares about their pocketbook, health, security and the wellbeing of future generations should support.”

Members of Congress signed onto the letter include: 

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), and Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Summer Lee (D-PA-12), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL), Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), Katie Porter (D-CA-47), Delia C. Ramirez (D-IL-03), Sean Casten (D-IL-06), Kevin Mullin (D-CA-15), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO-05), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), Maxine Waters (D-CA-43), Greg Casar (D-TX-35), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-31), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Betty McCollum (D-MN-04), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA-30), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA-38), Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), Mark Takano (D-CA-39), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), Judy Chu (D-CA-28), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-10), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY-07), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Paul D. Tonko (D-NY-20), Dan Goldman (D-NY-10), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY-09), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA-34), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL-04), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA-04), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), David J. Trone (D-MD-06), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-12), Andrea Salinas (D-OR-06), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), Mike Levin (D-CA-49), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA-37), Jonathan L. Jackson (D-IL-01), Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL-24), Seth Magaziner (D-RI-02), Val Hoyle (D-OR-04), Shri Thanedar (D-MI-13), Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (D-NC-12),Sara Jacobs (D-CA-51), Gabe Amo (D-RI-01),Brad Sherman (D-CA-32), André Carson (D-IN-07), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-18), Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA-25), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03), and Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (D-NY-16).