WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — U.S. officials have ordered a freeze on new liquid natural gas exports.
Critics are calling it a win for Russia, but the White House said Friday the U.S. needs to reassess the exports for environmental and economic reasons.
“There’s a long runway here,” said National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “And we’re taking a step back.”
Zaidi said President Joe Biden is following the science on climate change and the global warming caused by natural gas. He stressed the U.S. is already on track to double these exports because of projects already approved and under construction.
LNG exports had skyrocketed as the U.S. urged European allies of Ukraine to stop buying Russian natural gas and buy American.
In a letter to the administration, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, (R-La.) and 24 other Republicans said, “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.”
“Saying, ‘Sorry, U.S. gas is not going to be available to you when you need it the most,'” said Dustin Meyer with the American Petroleum Institute.
Meyer said the decision doesn’t make sense.
“To do it now, of all times, it just seems inescapable that the primary driver of this is in fact election year politics,” he said.
In a statement, President Biden stressed the U.S. will remain the world’s top gas exporter.
“He stands with our allies and partners,” Zaidi said.
If necessary, the administration can allow exceptions to the pause in permits for national security needs. The White House did not say how long the freeze will last.