Texas Congressional Republicans, Democrats oppose Biden LNG export ban

Nine Texas Democratic U.S. representatives have urged Biden and his administration “to refocus on policies that support U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) exports,” understanding that Texas is the energy capital of the United States.
LNG ship

Texas Republican and Democratic members of Congress oppose President Joe Biden’s proposed ban on liquified natural gas (LNG) exports.

After Biden announced the ban, claiming exports would increase energy costs and methane emissions, claims that have been refuted by multiple organizations citing federal data, a coalition of Texas Democrats urged the president to reconsider his plan.

Nine Texas Democratic U.S. representatives have urged Biden and his administration “to refocus on policies that support U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) exports,” understanding that Texas is the energy capital of the United States.

Texas leads the U.S., and continues to break records, in oil and natural gas production, exports, emissions reductions, energy production, job creation, and economic growth, The Center Square has reported. The U.S. also became a net exporter of natural gas in 2017 for the first time since 1957, led by Texas.

“Your continued prioritization of LNG exports ensures a future marked by affordable, accessible, and sustainable energy resources that foster global stability and propel the energy transition,” they wrote in a letter. “We firmly believe that LNG exports hold significant benefits for the U.S. economy, energy security, and bolstering our alliances with U.S. partners across the world. As the United States continues to lead in global stability and energy resources, the export of U.S. LNG is a linchpin for fostering strong international partnerships, diversifying energy supplies, and reducing dependence on volatile regions. The Administration’s support for U.S. LNG is not only a boon for America but a beacon for the world’s pursuit of cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.”

Texas Democrats signing the letter were U.S. Reps. Marc Veasey, Don Davis, Henry Cuellar, Jim Costa, Mary Peltola, Vicente Gonzalez, Lou Correa, Colin Allred, Sylvia Garcia, and Lizzie Fletcher. Allred is now challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

In response to Biden’s LNG export ban, Rep. August Pfluger, a Republican who represents west Texas, including the oil and natural gas twin city capitals of Midland and Odessa, introduced the “Unlocking Domestic LNG Potential Act.” It would amend the Natural Gas Act by repealing all restrictions on the import and export of natural gas and give exclusive authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve or deny applications authorizing operations of facilities used to export or import natural gas to and from a foreign country, including LNG terminals.

FERC is an independent agency tasked with regulating the interstate transmission and wholesale sale of electricity and natural gas as well as the prices of interstate transport by pipeline of petroleum. Current federal law requires the Department of Energy to approve natural gas exports to Free Trade Agreement countries without delay. Biden’s ban applies to non-FTA countries.

Current law also requires the Energy secretary to approve non-FTA export requests unless the exports are found to “not be consistent with the public interest.” Pfluger says, “There is a clear statutory presumption that U.S. LNG exports are in the public interest.”

He also points out that the Department of Energy “has already commissioned five studies to examine the effects of U.S. LNG exports,” which “unanimously demonstrate the benefits to the U.S. economy and domestic natural gas prices.” It issued two studies examining the life cycle of greenhouse gas impacts of U.S. LNG exports that showed “strong environmental benefits,” he said, noting that they were conducted during two previous administrations that didn’t block LNG exports.

“President Biden has used every weapon and every tool available to him to make producing American energy more difficult," Pfluger, who chairs the RSC House Energy Action Team, said. "His decision to ban future US LNG exports is just the latest strike in his efforts to appease his radical climate interest groups who refuse to accept the reality that American energy is the cleanest, most secure option for the U.S. and our allies. The decision to ban exports creates uncertainty and discourages investments that would otherwise create jobs and expand the supply of natural gas.”

Pfluger’s bill passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 224 to 200. Only three Texas Democrats voted for it: Cuellar, Gonzalez and Veasey.

A bipartisan congressional energy export caucus, of which Cuellar is a co-chair, also expressed concerns that Russia and U.S. enemies were benefiting from Biden’s LNG export ban. They did so after German-owned SEFE purchased LNG from Russia.

In a joint statement, co-chairs Cuellar, and Reps. Carol Miller (R-WV), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Lou Correa (D-CA), said, “Russia continues to benefit from President Biden’s disruption of exports on U.S. liquefied natural gas. Because of this needless pause on U.S. LNG exports, Europe is forced to deal with Russia, while Russia continues to wage a war against Ukraine."