methane flare

A methane flare at Pawnee National Grasslands.

(Photo: WildEarth Guardians/flickr/cc)

Green Groups Warn Record US Fracked Gas Exports 'Bad News for Our Climate and Public Health'

"It is time for the White House to put the public interest and our climate future ahead of fossil fuel industry profits," said one campaigner.

As the U.S. Department of Energy announced that the nation set a new record for fossil gas exports during the first half of 2023, green advocacy groups on Wednesday implored the Biden administration to "put the public interest and our climate future ahead of fossil fuel industry profits" by halting gas projects and exports.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), "the United States exported more natural gas in the first half of 2023... than it did in the same period of any previous year," with exports averaging 20.4 billion cubic feet per day. The U.S. is the world's leading liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.

"Record exports of fossil fuels are a direct result of Biden administration policies that are expanding fracking, pipelines, and LNG export facilities, all of which threaten to lock the world into more climate-warming emissions from fossil fuels," Jim Walsh, policy director at the group Food & Water Watch, said in a statement.

"These policies are bad news for our climate and public health, but will also continue to push up energy prices for U.S. consumers, and will slow the transition to more affordable, clean renewable energy options," Walsh added.

Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, accused the Biden administration of largely ignoring an 85-year-old federal mandate in the Natural Gas Act requiring exports to most countries to be "consistent with the public interest."

"As a result, our record gas exports expose American households to higher energy prices and increased price volatility, poison Black and Brown communities who bear the brunt of LNG expansion on the U.S. Gulf Coast, and exacerbate the climate crisis," Slocum said. "The exports also drive increased domestic fracking and promote fossil fuels that compete with renewable energy."

“The Biden administration must halt all export authorizations until it acknowledges the impact record exports have on worsening domestic energy security for vulnerable Americans and commits to respect the public interest mandate," he added.

In addition to approving or backing climate-wrecking fossil fuel expansion including the Willow Project in Alaska, the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia, and oil drilling on public lands and offshore, the Biden administration has supported and expanded LNG projects at home and abroad with a special focus on export infrastrcture.

Reacting to the EIA figures, Walsh said that "President Biden has a chance to reverse this dangerous trend. He can match his climate rhetoric with real climate action by determining that the proposed Calcasieu Pass 2... project in Louisiana, which would be the country's largest export facility for fossil gas, is not in the public interest."

"It is time for the White House to put the public interest and our climate future ahead of fossil fuel industry profits," he added.

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