CP2, which the Biden administration is expected to either approve or reject in the coming months, would emit 20 times the climate pollution expected from the controversial Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.
Democratic Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has joined the growing movement to stop the Calcasieu Pass 2, or CP2, a liquefied natural gas export terminal planned for Louisiana's Gulf Coast.
Experts warn that CP2, which the Biden administration is expected to either approve or reject in the coming months, would emit 20 times the climate pollution expected from the controversial Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.
"The Calcasieu Pass 2 LNG export terminal in Louisiana is the next climate litmus test," Merkley tweeted Thursday. "CP2 would poison communities and fly in the face of our climate goals."
Directly addressing President Biden, Merkley added: "Say no to CP2!"
Merkley's statement came less than a week after longtime climate activist Bill McKibben wrote an article in The New Yorker detailing how CP2—and the broader expansion of LNG exports it represents—threatens to undermine U.S. climate goals and force the 1.5°C temperature-rise target out of reach.
The U.S. is already the world's leading exporter of LNG, and CP2 is only the largest of at least 20 Gulf export terminals in the pipeline.
"If this buildout continues, and if you counted the emissions from this gas against America's totals, it would mean that American greenhouse gas emissions would not have budged since 2005," McKibben wrote on his Substack.
"Thank you Sen. Jeff Merkley for calling on POTUS to stop CP2 and protect Louisiana's coast, and our fishermen and shrimpers."
However, the Biden administration has a chance to stop the project. First, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could reject CP2 at its October commission meeting, though McKibben noted in The New Yorker that this appears unlikely. In July, FERC opined that the project would not have a major impact on local resources, making no mention of its global climate impacts.
Then, the Department of Energy needs to grant CP2 a license to export gas through the terminal. Such a license can only be approved if an export is in "the public interest."
"After a northern hemisphere summer like the one we've just experienced, that should be an easy call," McKibben wrote on his Substack.
Merkley's statement indicates he agrees.
"Many many thanks for standing up here, Senator!' McKibben posted in response.
Climate advocacy group Oil Change International boosted Merkely's call.
"The proposed CP2 LNG export terminal is a climate and environmental justice disaster, many times over," the group wrote. "It's also a clear test for President Joe Biden."
CP2 also faces local opposition. Louisiana's Gulf Coast is on the frontlines of the climate crisis in myriad ways as it suffers sea level rise, more intense storms, and increased pollution that results from fossil fuel expansion.
The LNG buildout in particular destroys habitat for fish and shrimp, threatening the ecosystem and the livelihoods of fishers and shrimpers, according to a press release from local environmental justice group the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. The increase in shipping traffic brought by the terminals also makes fishing and shrimping more difficult.
"Thank you Sen. Jeff Merkley for calling on POTUS to stop CP2 and protect Louisiana's coast, and our fishermen and shrimpers," the group wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "This is the federal leadership we need. We'd love to have you come down and see firsthand how gas exports are decimating our beloved seafood industry."
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade also called on their own Senator, Republican Bill Cassidy, to step up.
"Are you going to protect your own constituents, the fishermen and shrimpers whose livelihoods will be decimated by CP2," the group asked, "or are you going to rely on Sen. Jeff Merkley from Oregon to do it for you?"