The Platform


The Biden administration has announced a pause on the consideration of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals.

The Biden administration has announced a strategic pause in the approval process for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, signaling a reflective interlude aimed at assessing the implications of LNG exports on energy pricing, national security, and the broader narrative of global climate change. This pause in the review of prospective multibillion-dollar LNG export initiatives represents a critical juncture in the wider narrative of adjusting the nation’s energy strategy amidst the pressing realities of climate change, emphasizing the need for policies that balance LNG projects’ potential impacts on energy costs, security, and environmental integrity.

The interim is strategically designed to allow officials the necessary time to refine their analytical approach toward LNG proposals, aspiring to develop a framework resilient against security risks, economic instability, or environmental damage. This move has garnered commendation from environmental circles, viewed as a significant step toward addressing the climate crisis.

However, the decision to slow the consideration of LNG export facilities navigates a complex web of implications, intertwined with climate imperatives and reflections on the environmental and economic impacts of such projects. The reactions to this strategic course are a blend of praise and criticism, reflecting the polarized discourse surrounding the expansion of LNG infrastructure.

The narrative of LNG development within the United States is laden with potential consequences. Environmental groups welcome this development as a thoughtful acknowledgment of the climate crisis, whereas industry voices lament the potential hindrance to LNG infrastructure growth and the possible loss of economic benefits.

This administrative pause embodies the ongoing tension between the imperatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the drive to support domestic energy production and international trade. It highlights the complex negotiations required to devise an energy policy that marries economic viability with environmental stewardship.

The outcome of this review will significantly influence the discourse on U.S. LNG endeavors, engaging policymakers, industry stakeholders, and environmental advocates in a critical dialogue.

The debate over LNG terminals has escalated, with opposition from environmental activists, academic circles, and the general public against the expansion of these facilities. Their concerns span from localized pollution and ecosystem damage to the broader environmental and health risks associated with LNG.

Critics focus on the immediate and long-term environmental impacts, leveraging scientific evidence to highlight the role of LNG in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane, which exacerbates climate change and indirectly impacts health through its effects on agriculture, ozone formation, and air quality.

The “Say No To LNG” campaign, along with environmental allies, leads the opposition, challenging the perceived eco-friendliness of LNG and raising awareness of its health risks. They scrutinize projects like the Tilbury Island LNG expansion in Canada for their health implications and methane emissions.

Critics also critique the fossil fuel lobby’s influence over energy policy, advocating for a transition to renewables and a faster phase-out of fossil fuels. They call for a comprehensive approach to decarbonization that includes operational and efficiency improvements, aiming for a just and equitable transition that addresses the climate emergency and health crises exacerbated by port emissions.

Opposition to LNG terminals in the Gulf of Mexico is growing, uniting environmental groups, academics, and some industry figures against the environmental risks these terminals pose. Their arguments, presented in public, legal, and policy forums, emphasize methane’s contribution to climate change and its indirect health impacts.

Supporters of LNG highlight its economic and geopolitical benefits, arguing for its role in energy security and trade balance. Yet, the discourse on the U.S. LNG future revolves around deeper concerns over climate change, public health, and environmental justice, underscoring the challenge of aligning economic goals with environmental and health imperatives.

This article was originally posted in Tomorrow’s Affairs.

While advocating for systemic change over 4 decades, Gordon Feller has been called upon to help leaders running some of the world’s major organizations: World Bank, UN, World Economic Forum, Lockheed, Apple, IBM, Ford, the national governments of Germany, Canada, US – to name a few. With 40 years in Silicon Valley, Feller’s 300+ published articles cover the full spectrum of energy/environment/technology issues, reporting from more than 40 countries. Obama/Biden appointee to Federal comm. on innovation; Global Fellow at The Smithsonian; Winner: Prime Minister Abe Fellowship, Japan.