Mar 22, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Red states sue to end Biden's LNG permit pause

Illustration of a pattern of elephants holding gavels with their trunks.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Fresh litigation marks the next phase in the fight over President Biden's pause on new liquefied natural gas export licenses.

Why it matters: A complaint from 16 states asks a Louisiana federal district court for a preliminary injunction that would resume consideration of permits.

The big picture: In a filing Thursday, GOP attorneys general from Texas, Louisiana and other states argued the pause violates administrative procedure law and the Natural Gas Act governing exports.

  • They also claim it runs afoul of a 2022 Supreme Court holding that agencies need clear congressional blessing to regulate on "major questions."

Friction point: Louisiana AG Liz Murrill, in a statement, called the pause part of "attacks" on U.S. energy that "jeopardizes" thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue.

Catch up quick: Biden officials in January froze new permitting to study the economic and climate effects of the U.S. export surge.

  • But officials emphasize that U.S. exports — already the world's largest — will keep soaring this decade, via projects already approved and under construction.
  • DOE did not provide comment on the new case.

The bottom line: An intense political and lobbying fight is now a legal one too.

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