LNG Tanker
A tanker carries liquefied natural gas.
(Photo: Focke Strangmann/AFP via Getty Images)

Biden and the Dems Are Slowing Big Oil’s LNG Gravy Train

Citizens like me are grateful that some of our elected leaders are finally standing up to Big Oil.

As a Texan living in the shadow of a liquefied natural gas facility, I was relieved to see the House move forward with a slate of foreign aid bills last week that do not include a rider reversing President Joe Biden’s LNG pause. It’s reason enough to celebrate Biden’s rejection of the rider provision and the Democrats’ united stand against Big Oil’s puppets in Congress.

The pause—which aims to halt the construction of toxic LNG export facilities until it can be determined whether or not they serve the public interest—is a bold attempt to end the profits over people ethos that has defined U.S. energy policy for too long. Citizens like me are grateful that some of our elected leaders are finally standing up to Big Oil. It’s clear the Big Oil gravy train doesn’t make stops for ordinary Americans—just cronies who will stop at nothing to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) signaled openness in recent weeks to linking the passage of the foreign aid package to a reversal of President Biden’s LNG pause—which would have been a massive handout to fossil fuel billionaires, who have padded their margins by exporting LNG to China.

Standing by its LNG pause, the Biden administration makes communities like Port Arthur feel heard.

Two weeks ago, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) led a field hearing in my hometown of Port Arthur, Texas—ground zero for Phase 2 of the Port Arthur LNG project—where they called for more LNG exports and accused President Biden of pandering to environmental extremists in an election year. But consider who the real extremists are in this fight: The communities begging for a chance to breathe clean air or three politicians who have received more than $2 million in oil and gas contributions?

Regardless of what Speaker Johnson would have you believe, the U.S. is surpassing its energy commitments to Europe, and U.S. LNG exports are already meeting Europe’s LNG needs. And European leaders know this, having affirmed the Biden administration’s leadership on the gas exports pause and recognizing that their security depends on clean energy investments.

What Speaker Johnson and other Big Oil insiders are hiding is that approving pending LNG export terminals would increase gas costs for industry, businesses, and households by $11-$18 billion in the near term and could increase gas prices for Americans by 9-14% each year—a fact backed up by a recent analysis from Energy Innovation.

Standing by its LNG pause, the Biden administration makes communities like Port Arthur feel heard. For years, our hometown endured cancer diagnoses and contaminated air—all while being told that LNG was a “win” for the local economy. Had they done their research on Port Arthur—which has had three operating refineries and other petrochemical facilities for many years—they would’ve known that our city has a poverty rate of 28%, an unemployment rate that’s almost three times the national average at 10.4%, and some of the lowest home values in Texas. If LNG facilities are meant to benefit ordinary citizens, shouldn’t the citizens of Port Arthur feel it by now?

And it’s not just Port Arthur that’s bearing the brunt of Big Oil’s reckless profit-seeking. Domestic consumers will face $14.3 billion in higher annual energy costs based on LNG facilities’ current rate of production. That doesn’t include the anticipated spike in prices that LNG proliferation will cause. Do you think those new plants will be built in Speaker Johnson’s community? Or will the Big Oil gravy train continue to steamroll over vulnerable working class neighborhoods like mine?

Biden and House Democrats’ defense of the LNG pause has certainly slowed the gravy train, but it hasn’t come to a stop. Doing that will require Democrats and climate-minded Republicans to remain united in the face of Big Oil’s antics. The fight isn’t over, but for the first time in a while, I can hear the voice of community leaders and courageous politicians over the sound of that unrelenting train whistle.

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