Manchin to begin probe into Biden’s freeze on LNG shipments and permits


It was late January when President Biden froze new licenses to export LNG and immediately, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat like the President, ripped into his decision.

“If the Administration has the facts to prove that additional LNG export capacity would hurt Americans, they must make that information public and clear,” he said at the time.

“But if this pause is just another political ploy to pander to keep-it-in-the-ground climate activists at the expense of American workers, businesses and our allies in need, I will do everything in my power to end this pause immediately.”

Manchin said the indisputable facts are that America’s LNG production has strengthened the US economy, created good-paying jobs, supported the energy needs of allies aroundt he world and helped reduce global emissions.

Sen. Manchin also vowed to use his power as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to investigate. On Thursday, the fireworks could begin as the committee will start is probe of the White House decision that angered Oklahoma Representatives and Senators. While none sit on the Manchin-led Committee, they will likely pay close attention to the testimony.

As the American Petroleum Institute pointed out this week, the President’s moratorium or freeze flies in the face of previous comments by members of both political parties and US allies.

Here’s what some said and when they said it.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm: “I believe U.S. LNG exports can have an important role to play in reducing international consumption of fuels that have greater contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.” (Axios, 2/3/21)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken: The U.S. is “now the leading supplier of LNG to Europe to help compensate for any gas or oil that it’s losing as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.” (U.S. State Department, 9/30/22)

U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Brad Crabtree: “[T]he U.S. natural gas and liquefied natural gas industries have stepped up and played a key role in supporting Europe’s energy security. This year, approximately two-thirds of U.S. LNG exports have gone to Europe.” (U.S. State Department, 9/30/22)

U.S. Climate Envoy John Podesta, the man chosen to replace John Kerry as Energy Czar: “The United States should do everything it can to support its European allies as they try to reduce their dependence on Russian natural gas.” (Center for American Progress, 3/25/22)

Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk: “We’re a democracy; we’re the leader of the free world. I think it’s a much better outcome for Japan or others to get their energy supplies from the U.S. than to get it from Russia or other countries.” (E&E News, 3/8/21)

Japan Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Ken Saito: “[W]e are concerned that the temporary suspension of export permits will delay the start of new LNG production from the U.S. … We would like to carefully examine the medium to long-term impact of the issue and take necessary steps to ensure that Japan’s stable energy supply is not compromised.” (Reuters, 1/30/24)

Menelaos Ydreos, Secretary General of the International Gas Union: “The current dynamic we are seeing unfold is highly worrying. It is eroding these fundamental market principles and will harm global energy security and emission reduction.” (International Gas Union, 1/30/24)

French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade Olivier Becht: “What’s certain is that in the current geopolitical environment, we’re counting a lot on American gas.” (Wall Street Journal, 1/12/24)

Progressive Policy Institute: “[T]he the threat of curtailing LNG exports to our allies will put the markets, the EU, and Asia in turmoil, threatening the energy security of our allies with no climate benefit.” (Progressive Policy Institute, 1/26/24)
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel: “LNG can be a major contributor – with the reduction of methane – both on the global energy stability and security for every country but also a contributor to our collective individual goals, our collective and individual goals as countries in seeing and meeting our objective by 2050 in net-zero.” (Remarks at LNG PCC 2023, 7/26/23)

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol: “From an emissions point of view, US LNG – if it replaces coal in Asia – it can lead to significant emission declines both in terms of CO2 emissions but also for air pollution.” (Testimony, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 2/3/21)

Asian Natural Gas and Energy Association President Paul Everingham: “Without sufficient access to gas imports, energy security and the energy transition will be elusive for the people of Southeast Asia, and that in turn places at risk the ambitious decarbonization plans spearheaded by Japan, which take into account Asian nations’ specific requirements.” (Washington Times, 1/27/24)

Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) led nine house Democrats in a letter urging President Biden to “refocus” his administration’s policies on natural gas, writing that, “Every molecule of U.S. LNG exported helps limit the growth of global emissions and provides energy security around the world.” (Rep. Marc Veasey, Letter to Biden Re LNG Permitting Pause, 2/1/24)

Sens. John Cornyn and Bill Cassidy: “Biden’s decision to halt new LNG export projects is sure to bolster hostile nations, line the pockets of dictators and increase global emissions. It’s a dangerous move that hurts our allies and helps our adversaries.” (Houston Chronicle, 2/4/24)

Letter from Reps. Carol Miller, Lou Correa, Jodey Arrington, Henry Cuellar and more than a dozen other House lawmakers: “To hamstring an industry that provides millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in GDP would be blatantly against the public interest.” (Rep. Carol Miller, Letter to President Biden Re LNG Permitting Pause, 2/5/24)

Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman: “[W]e we have concerns about the long-term impacts that this pause will have on the thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry. If this decision puts Pennsylvania energy jobs at risk, we will push the Biden Administration to reverse this decision.” (U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Press Release, 2/1/24)

Colorado Reps. Yadira Caraveo and Doug Lamborn: “[T]he decision to pause new LNG exports will have a chilling effect on the gas sector and cause real harm to Colorado consumers and workers.” (Rep. Yadira Caraveo and Rep. Doug Lamborn, Letter to President Biden Re Pause on New LNG Export Approvals, 2/1/24)

Brookings Fellow Smantha Goss: “In addition to undermining U.S. foreign policy, cutting back on LNG exports is unlikely to make much difference in prices at home. The United States consistently enjoys some of the world’s lowest natural gas prices. U.S. LNG export capacity is expanding, but the United States has huge natural gas reserves and production is likely to expand along with export capacity.” (Brookings, 2/18/24)