By Laura Sanicola and Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The head of the main U.S. oil and gas lobby group on Wednesday said that if U.S. regulators slow down or stop approving liquefied natural gas exports, they will put allies at risk.
American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers issued the warning in response to media reports this week that the Biden administration is weighing whether to add climate considerations to the process of approving new LNG terminals or expansions.
“Halting US LNG approvals would put our allies at risk. This should not be controversial,” Sommers said at an API event focused on top issues for 2024, adding that US LNG exports help reduce global emissions by displacing coal overseas.
The United States has become the world’s biggest exporter of LNG this year even as the Biden administration has said it wants to hasten the transition away from fossil fuels and comes under increased election-year pressure from environmental groups to halt new fossil fuel export capacity.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is leading an effort to determine whether federal regulators should factor in climate change considerations when deciding whether a proposed gas export project meets the national interest, Politico reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the discussions.
The DOE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Even as the Biden administration passed the biggest climate bill in U.S. history – the Inflation Reduction Act – and imposed numerous climate regulations across the government, the United States has also become the world’s biggest oil and gas producer and exporter of LNG.
This has prompted moves from environmental leaders including author Bill McKibben and grassroots groups in the U.S. Gulf coast to stop future approvals to expand LNG exports and urge the Biden administration to adhere to campaign promises and its international climate commitments.
The United States agreed along with nearly 200 countries at UN climate negotiations in Dubai in December to transition away from fossil fuel production.
A coalition of environmental groups on Wednesday said they will hold a three-day sit-in at the DOE from Feb. 6-8 to seek a halt in licensing new LNG terminals.
Energy News Beat