WASHINGTON, DC (WOAY) – West Virginia’s senators are speaking out about the Biden administration’s decision to pause the approval of new exports of liquid natural gas.
The decision came down two weeks ago, as the administration said it is delaying natural gas exports from the United States, citing environmental concerns.
“During this period, we will take a hard look at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security, and our environment. This pause on new LNG approvals sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time,” Biden said in a statement.
Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee held a hearing on the pause. Senator Joe Manchin, the chairman of the committee, said that the pause empowers the United States’s foreign adversaries.
Further, he said it’s a decision based in politics.
“The White House has gone out of its way to signal that the pause is a political ploy intended to get votes in an election year—it’s all about politics, not economics, and we just saw yesterday what that does for us. Between the two statements issued by the White House announcing the pause, climate and environmental issues are mentioned more than 35 times. All combined, consumer costs, energy security, and helping our allies are mentioned less than half as much,” Manchin said.
“It seems the White House has already sided with climate activists determined to block any more LNG exports, and I am deeply concerned the White House will put its thumb on the scale at DOE to get the political outcome they want.”
Senator Shelley Moore Capito spoke on the issue today in a press conference. She echoed Manchin’s comments on the decision being based in politics and said it leaves out Appalachian states with high natural gas production.
“One-third of the natural gas production that occurs in this country occurs in the region of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Number two is Russia. And number three is Iran,” Capito said. “So with West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, what does this do? It shuts down workers, shuts down families being able to stay in their communities, feed their families, and provide for the national security by being the energy independent country that we know they are.”
Biden’s decision aligns with environmental groups, who say that natural gas exports severely impact the environment.
In fact, the hearing today was disrupted by environmental activists who say they support the Biden decision.
Fourteen activists were arrested because of their protest.
“I’m almost 80 years old and I have six grandchildren — Maddie, Max, Leo, Dylan, Rory, and Philly. They are in this room with us and will inherit the Earth. But LNG is killing this Earth. That is the fossil fuel legacy. We want a different legacy. Listen to the science, keep fossil fuels in the ground. That is the legacy we want for the Earth and our grandchildren,” Bob Muehlenkamp, one of the activists arrested today, said.
Newswatch continues to track the Biden administration’s decision and its impact on southern West Virginia. We will update you as we learn more.