Home » Federal Court Halts Biden Administration’s Restriction on LNG Exports

Federal Court Halts Biden Administration’s Restriction on LNG Exports

by Richard A Reagan

A federal judge has blocked the Biden administration’s ban on new exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), delivering a critical blow to the White House’s efforts to pause these exports pending environmental reviews.

The ruling, issued by Judge James Cain Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana, argues that the administration’s move lacks a rational basis and threatens significant economic impacts across multiple states.

The injunction responds to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of over a dozen states, led by states such as Louisiana and West Virginia, which are major players in the U.S. energy sector. These states argued that the ban would not only jeopardize jobs but also risk billions in tax revenue crucial for their economies.

Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill celebrated the ruling, highlighting the approximately $61 billion worth of pending infrastructure projects at stake due to the administration’s abrupt policy shift.

“This is great news for Louisiana, our 16 state partners in this fight, and the entire country,” said Murrill in a statement.

The Biden administration had put the ban in place in January, citing the need for a thorough environmental review to assess the impact of new LNG projects on carbon emissions—a process expected to exceed a year.

This move, according to the White House and the Department of Energy, was to account for potential energy cost increases for American consumers and the broader implications of greenhouse gas emissions.

However, opponents of the ban have criticized it as an overreach of executive power, suggesting that the authority to regulate energy exports should reside with Congress under the Natural Gas Act.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey accused the Biden administration of pursuing a “radical climate change agenda” at the cost of the U.S. economy. 

“This is a big win for the country’s energy industry and the millions of jobs it supports against the attacks from the Biden administration to further its radical climate change agenda at the expense of our economy,” said Morrisey in a statement.

Judge Cain’s ruling underscored a lack of “reason or logic” in the Energy Department’s abrupt halt to the LNG export approvals, calling it the “epiphany of idiocracy.” His decision has been met with approval from states reliant on energy exports, where LNG serves not only as a key economic driver but also as a significant energy source for international markets.

Last year, the U.S. led the world in LNG exports, with major destinations including Europe and Asia.

The U.S. Department of Energy expressed disagreement with the court’s decision and is currently evaluating its next steps.

Meanwhile, the preliminary injunction ensures that new LNG export projects can proceed while the legal battle continues, providing temporary relief to an industry at the core of several state economies.

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