A prominent Gen Z climate activist, who has amassed nearly 700,000 followers on TikTok, said he met with White House officials ahead of President Biden’s decision to pause major liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects.
“I started advocating to stop new LNG export terminals last year after learning of the level of pollution this type of fuel adds to the atmosphere,” Alex Haraus told Fox News Digital.
Haraus, whose TikTok videos on climate change regularly rack up thousands and sometimes millions of views, said new research indicates that LNG can have a dirtier carbon footprint than coal when burned and that the U.S. already exports “enough” to allies, adding that it doesn’t “make sense to poison more people with the pollution they put out just so a few corporations could profit.”
In November, Haraus began routinely posting videos about the danger of the federal government permitting more LNG export terminals, which are projects designed to leverage American fossil fuel reserves to help U.S. allies in Europe and Asia wean off Russian energy. Proponents of such projects have argued they will benefit the U.S. economy, allies’ energy security and curb emissions.
But in videos oftentimes filmed from Louisiana where LNG export terminals are being built, Haraus said the projects would lead to greater emissions and, therefore, worsen global warming. On Nov. 27, he posted a video that garnered more than 137,000 views in which he stated that more LNG export capacity means “humanity will burn more, faster because of the U.S. unless we don’t build the terminals.”
Then, after he started posting the videos, Haraus said he met with White House climate advisers alongside environmental activists from the Gulf Coast also opposed to the projects. And on Jan. 26, the White House and Department of Energy (DOE) announced it had paused permitting for all pending LNG export terminals over climate impacts, appearing to cede to the activists’ demands.
“I was with activists from the Gulf Coast who have been fighting this for years,” Haraus told Fox News Digital when asked about the White House meetings. “The policy demonstrates that they were somewhat receptive.”
“Any administration who makes tangible, measurable decisions to phase out fossil fuel dependency will gain more support from young people,” he added. “The White House could always go farther.”
Haraus declined to offer additional details on the meeting, saying people are concerned about his conversations with the White House but not the “many meetings the fossil fuel lobby has had with the White House or millions of dollars the fossil fuel lobby has spent to skew policy in their favor.”
Shortly after the White House announcement, Haraus posted a video in which he cheered the decision and called for activists to celebrate.
“We can change the world when we work together,” he said. “If you weren’t thinking it before, you better be thinking it now.”
In addition to the meeting Haraus said he had with officials about the LNG export policy, visitor logs reviewed by Fox News Digital show he was granted a one-on-one meeting with President Biden’s clean energy czar, John Podesta, in July. Haraus’ TikTok timeline shows he was in Washington, D.C., at the time, advocating against cutting down old-growth trees in federal forests.
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Following the joint White House and DOE announcement last month announcing the LNG export terminal permitting moratorium, Republicans, Democrats and energy industry groups have blasted the Biden administration for handing Russia a victory.
In a letter to Biden on Monday, more than 150 House Republicans, including Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., argued that pausing LNG export growth threatens to cause increased U.S. energy prices, leads to higher global greenhouse gas emissions and harms the U.S. economy.
The letter pointed to studies showing that LNG exports could add as much as $73 billion to the U.S. economy by 2040, create upwards of 453,000 American jobs and increase U.S. purchasing power by $30 billion.
According to federal data updated last month, there are 11 projects that have been green-lit by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) but are not yet under construction. An additional four projects are pending before FERC and two are in the pre-filing stage. Those six projects wouldn’t be affected by the pause since they are not before the DOE yet, but they would be if approved by FERC.