As European allies have turned from Russia to the United States for their natural gas, the lawmakers are questioning why the president would pause US supply.
The letter was signed by 10 more Republican House members and five additional Democrats in the House: Reps. Mary Sattler Peltola of Alaska, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Jim Costa of California, and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington.
The letter argues that continued liquified natural gas exports from the United States are critical to serve the energy needs of allies and partners across Europe during the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.
Russia was a leading exporter of LNG and other fossil fuels prior to its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. U.S. exports of LNG rose after the invasion, with many European nations shifting away from Russian-supplied fossil fuel products and adopting U.S.-supplied energy as an alternative.
The letter by the bipartisan group of lawmakers further argues that continued exports of U.S. LNG actually better serves the Biden administration’s stated goal of reducing global emissions, as the U.S. fossil fuel industry has better emissions standards than Russia.
“Unlike the United States—where methane emissions are modest, regulated, and declining—Russia’s natural gas production facilities and distribution networks are old, largely unregulated, and leaky,” the letter reads.
The Feb. 5 letter also notes that the increased reliance on U.S. exports of LNG supports the domestic economy, with the natural gas industry providing an estimated 10 million U.S. jobs.
“For these reasons, we urge you to direct the U.S. Department of Energy to issue U.S. LNG export licenses more rapidly rather than stop or pause the process,” the letter from the bipartisan group states.
Sens. Manchin, Fetterman, Casey Distance From Export Pause
The seven House Democrats who signed onto the Feb. 5 letter aren’t the only members of President Biden’s party who are at odds with his decision to pause exports of liquified natural gas.
On the day President Biden announced the export pause, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, vowed to hold hearings to scrutinize the Biden administration’s reasoning for the pause and wouldn’t take kindly to the executive action if it turned out to be a “political ploy.”
Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman, who both represent Pennsylvania, also expressed their concerns about the export pause in a Feb. 1 statement.