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Media Contact:

Rebekah Staub, Permian-Gulf Communications Manager, rstaub@earthworks.org

Background: President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today announced the development of plans to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels that includes exporting additional liquefied natural gas (LNG). The US is already operating at near full export capacity, so exporting an additional 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of LNG to Europe each year would very likely require new LNG export facilities, which take roughly three to five years to build.

Building new export terminals on the Gulf Coast would lock in fossil fuel infrastructure for decades and pose an existential threat to communities already living with the pollution and safety risks these facilities bring. The export of LNG to global markets threatens to lock in emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than CO2 that is released alongside other health-harming toxic pollution. The residents of the Gulf Coast should not bear further health burdens of exposure to toxic pollution to address Europe’s energy needs. Experts agree that in order to achieve the climate goals the Biden administration has committed to, we need to halt fossil fuel expansion immediately, and global LNG trade needs to start declining by 2025.

Statement from Lauren Pagel, Earthworks Policy Director:
“The US cannot keep in alignment with climate goals and protect communities from disastrous harm by building new export terminals on the Gulf Coast or anywhere in America. The unacceptable levels of toxic pollution that already exist in communities across the country would increase, and with it the environmental racism President Biden has pledged to end.

“We stand in solidarity with efforts aimed to immediately alleviate and prevent further human suffering from war. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, President Biden should declare a climate emergency and drive the vast majority of investment toward energy security into just renewable energy and the fast-tracking of a circular transition minerals economy.”

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