State AGs Warn Biden’s Natural Gas Moratorium Violates Federal Law, Demand Reversal

A coalition of 22 Republican state attorneys general is warning President Biden that his recent moratorium on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects is unlawful.

The top state officials, led by Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, penned a letter to Biden and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, listing a series of federal statutes the administration’s recent actions allegedly violate and urging the pair to immediately reverse course. [emphasis, links added]

The AGs further argued that the policy of pausing LNG exports would harm national security and have negative economic impacts.

“Instead of addressing America’s real energy challenges, your administration has decided to double down on a reckless environmental agenda through this TikTok-inspired ‘pause,’” they wrote in the letter.

“But this surprise freeze is (1) unlawful, (2) harmful to our economy, and (3) detrimental to our national security. It emboldens and empowers Iran and Russia, while further hampering our ability to protect ourselves.

“Although your administration has put this country in a difficult situation through this LNG ‘pause,’ you still have time to change course. Your administration does not have to recklessly continue down an unlawful path that harms our economic and national security interests,” Kobach and the other attorney general continued. “You can and must reverse course by immediately ending this ‘pause.’ ”

Late last month, Biden ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) to pause pending permits for LNG export facilities while federal officials conduct a rigorous environmental review assessing the projects’ carbon emissions, which could take more than a year to complete.

The action represents a major victory for activists who have loudly called for such a move, even threatening to hold large protests over the issue.

The president said the pause on LNG permitting was a part of his sweeping climate agenda, adding the action “sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time.” He also took aim at “MAGA Republicans” for willfully denying the “urgency of the climate crisis.”

However, in their letter, the attorneys general argue DOE fails to identify under which authority it is pausing LNG exports.

jennifer granholm

The agency, they write, “literally has no power to act — including under its regulations — unless and until Congress authorizes it to do so by statute,” adding that DOE instead justified its actions by pointing to a climate-focused executive order Biden issued.

The attorneys general further argue that DOE cannot rely on the 1938 Natural Gas Act, which requires the agency to approve applications to export LNG to non-Free Trade Agreement countries unless such exportation is not “consistent with the public interest.”

“Here, you have signaled every intention to deny a sweeping category of exports based on allusions to environmental harms,” they added in the letter. “Your administration and its allies appear to be “seizing on regulatory loopholes and prejudging the outcomes of complicated policy analysis.”

“Agency predetermination is bad enough, but it’s doubly wrong when it conflicts with Congress’s express purpose in enacting the statute.

In addition, they say DOE’s moratorium may give rise to liability under the Administrative Procedure Act “for unreasonable delay.” That 1946 law mandates federal agencies provide sufficient reasoning for the rules and regulations they implement.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, federal agencies are prohibited from creating an “unreasonable delay” when fulfilling a congressional requirement.

Since DOE is indefinitely pausing LNG export permits, which it is required to issue under the Natural Gas Act, the attorneys general said the agency’s actions amount to such an unreasonable delay.

They also said LNG export terminals must already go through an environmental review when they are approved by the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). …snip…

“The Biden Admin’s hatred of American energy has reached a new extreme,” Kobach told Fox News Digital in a statement. “This moratorium on liquefied natural gas exports is both illegal and irrational. This natural gas policy is going to blow up in the Administration’s face.

Read rest at Fox News

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