The Daily Signal

Latest Biden Move Against American Energy Would Increase Inflation, Be ‘Gift to Putin,’ Experts Warn

By Tyler O'Neil

President Joe Biden announced a temporary pause on exports of liquefied natural gas to countries without free trade agreements Friday, a move that experts warn will drive up the price of energy and empower Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“President Biden has been clear that climate change is the existential threat of our time—and we must act with the urgency it demands to protect the future for generations to come,” the White House said in a news release on the move.

The administration is temporarily pausing pending decisions on LNG exports until the Department of Energy can “update the underlying analyses for authorizations.”

The current DOE analyses “are roughly five years old and no longer adequately account for considerations like potential energy-cost increases for American consumers … or the latest assessment of the impact of greenhouse gas emissions,” the White House asserted. The news release warned about “the perilous impacts of methane on our planet,” emphasizing “risks to the health of our communities.”

Victoria Coates, who previously served as a senior policy adviser to the secretary of energy under President Donald Trump and currently serves as vice president of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, condemned Biden’s move as a “new front” in a “war on American energy.” 

“The Biden administration action today to halt pending applications for natural gas export permits represents a new front in their war on American energy,” Coates told The Daily Signal. “Not only will they be damaging jobs, tax revenues, and energy prices here at home, they will also be destroying our strategic capacity to surge supply to allies from Europe to Japan in the event of yet another disruption in global markets.”

Coates added: “Most ironically, they will also be thwarting the reductions in emissions that could have been achieved by the conversion of coal plants around the world to clean U.S. natural gas.”

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal emits significantly more carbon dioxide than natural gas. In 2019, coal-fired plants produced 2,257 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity, while natural gas-fired plants produced less than half that amount, at 976 pounds per megawatt-hour.

The pause may also embolden one of America’s strategic rivals, Russia, led by President Vladimir Putin, according to Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of Heritage’s Center for Energy, Climate and Environment.

“A pause in LNG exports would raise prices for our allies abroad, placing upward pressures on inflation at a time when the world is trying to reduce it,” Furchtgott-Roth told The Daily Signal. “Increases in natural gas prices would be catastrophic for their economies, following the cut in natural gas supplies from Russia’s President Putin.”

“This would be a gift to Putin, because prices of Russian natural gas would rise,” Furchtgott-Roth added.

Biden has championed the cause of Ukraine after Russia’s ongoing invasion, launched in 2022. Many European countries that previously relied on Russia for natural gas turned to the U.S., making Europe the No. 1 destination for U.S. LNG exports in 2022. It remains unclear whether any European nations will be directly impacted by the pause, but it may increase LNG prices globally, affecting them indirectly.

As for Biden’s claim about climate change being an “existential threat,” the science on the exact causes of global climactic changes is far from settled.

Climate alarmists’ agenda may make life worse in numerous ways, without necessarily providing any benefits in preventing climate-related catastrophes.

“The pause will not affect already authorized exports,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters Friday, Politico reported. “Nor will it impact our ability to supply our allies in Europe, Asia or elsewhere. We remain committed to ensuring our partners’ medium-term energy needs are met and, if needed, the department can determine if exceptions should be made for national security needs.”

Twenty-six Republican U.S. senators sent Biden a letter Friday objecting to the LNG pause.

“We write to express deep concerns” with the announcement, they wrote. “This ‘LNG Plan’ drafted without input from Congress could have significant economic, environmental and national security consequences domestically and globally. It would be reckless to jeopardize our advantage, especially in a world where energy is frequently being used as a geopolitical weapon.”

“U.S. LNG exports have served as a vital lifeline for countries in Europe and across the globe,” the senators added. “Nearly half of U.S. LNG exports have been delivered to Europe to date, with a significant increase in exports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. When European imports of LNG increased by 60 percent in 2022, U.S. LNG met that demand. Without U.S. LNG exports, European leaders would have to decide between depriving their own citizens of energy or actively funding Russia’s war on Ukraine.”

The senators also warned that limiting U.S. LNG exports will not impact the world’s demand for natural gas, but rather lead countries like Iran and Russia to “simply produce more energy that is subject to less stringent environmental regulations,” thereby increasing global emissions.

“We strongly urge you to stop this shortsighted effort,” the senators concluded.

Alabama’s Tommy Tuberville, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, Florida’s Marco Rubio, Idaho’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, Kansas’ Jerry Moran, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, Mississippi’s Cindy Hyde-Smith, Montana’s Steve Daines, Nebraska’s Pete Ricketts, North Carolina’s Ted Budd and Thom Tillis, North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer, Ohio’s J.D. Vance, Oklahoma’s James Lankford, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, South Dakota’s Mike Rounds, Tennessee’s Bill Hagerty, Texas’ John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Utah’s Mike Lee, and Wyoming’s John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis signed the letter.

The White House did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by publication time.