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U.S. House Passes Bill to Reverse Biden’s LNG Pause but Still Faces Battle with Democrat-Controlled Senate

These translations are done via Google Translate

A bill to strip the power of President Joe Biden’s administration to freeze approvals of liquefied natural gas exports passed in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, but faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

The House approved the bill sponsored by Representative August Pfluger of gas-producing Texas 224-200 on a mostly party-line vote.

The legislation needs to be passed in the Democratic-controlled Senate and signed by Biden to become law, both of which are unlikely.

ClearView Energy Partners, a nonpartisan policy research group, called the bill more of a “messaging effort and a start to debate than an end to the pause,” and said it was unlikely to clear the Senate.

The bill strips the power to approve the exports from the Department of Energy and leaves the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the sole body approving LNG projects.

Biden paused the approvals late last month for exports to big markets in Europe and Asia in order to take a “hard look” at environmental and economic impacts of the booming business. The United States became the largest LNG exporter last year, and its exports are expected to double by the end of the decade.

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Pfluger said U.S. LNG supports allies and partners, including those in Europe, which is weaning itself off gas from Russia after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. “The world needs U.S. LNG, this catastrophic, politically based, and legally dubious ban must be reversed immediately,” he said.

Representative Maxwell Frost, a 27-year-old Democrat, said climate advocates who fought LNG projects are heroes. “I can only hope and pray and fight to make sure that we build off” Biden’s pause to “get to a green, clean future.”

The pause has met with outcry from Republicans who say it will hurt jobs and harm energy security for allies. Some moderate Democrats have also been skeptical of the pause, saying they will push to stop it if it hits jobs.

European Commission Executive Vice President Maros Sefcovic said this week after meeting with Biden officials that the pause will have no impact on U.S. supplies to Europe over the next two or three years. Sefcovic said the U.S. is now the “global guarantor of energy security” and its responsibility goes beyond Europe.

The White House said this week it strongly opposes the House bill but stopped short of a veto threat.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)

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