LNG Dominates Politics, Policy Discussions in U.S., Pa.

Energy is sometimes a divisive issue, especially amid campaign season, but even more so during a presidential election year, which is where we find ourselves today when it comes to discussions related to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

It’s no surprise that Pennsylvania — the United States’ second-largest producer of natural gas behind only Texas — is right in the middle of it.

On Jan. 26, President Joe Biden announced via executive order a temporary pause on the approvals of new U.S. LNG export projects to examine the environmental, economic, and climate impacts of the businesses. It affects 12 projects; existing and under construction US LNG projects are not affected.

The reaction was swift.

Pennsylvania’s two Democratic senators, Robert P. Casey Jr. and John Fetterman, released a statement expressing concern about the president’s decision, noting that “Pennsylvania is an energy state” and that the “industry has created good-paying energy jobs in towns and communities across the Commonwealth and has played a critical role in promoting U.S. energy independence.”

An LNG export terminal in Philadelphia, for example, would create thousands of good-paying union jobs, reassert Pennsylvania’s leadership on the world stage, and increase the global supply of clean-burning, affordable, abundant, reliable energy, according to the final report of the bipartisan Philadelphia LNG Export Task Force.

Pennsylvanians get it. According to recent polling by co/efficient, two-thirds of Pennsylvania residents support expanded LNG exports to help create energy sector jobs. The poll found that 87 percent see energy security as vital to national security. Natural gas is vital to Pennsylvania’s economy and domestic and global security.

On Feb. 15, the U.S. House of Representatives voted, 224-200, in favor of a measure (“Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act,” H.R. 7176) that would overturn the Biden administration’s temporary pause of new LNG terminals. Nine Democrats crossed party lines to join the GOP majority. The Senate has yet to take action.

“The [House] vote makes clear that legislators on both sides of the aisle understand the importance of LNG,” PEIA said in an interview with the Delaware Valley Journal. “This is about protecting our economy, maintaining our energy independence, and enhancing global security, especially where our allies are more reliant on energy supplies from our adversaries than us, making the world less secure. American LNG can change the equation.”