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When The World Needs More LNG, Texas Delivers

Recently, TAB joined Sempra Infrastructure in Port Arthur to celebrate the official groundbreaking on Phase 1 of the new Port Arthur Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility. It’s exciting to see the economic opportunity the LNG plant will generate in the community and State of Texas – projected to create over 5,000 jobs while enhancing environmental stewardship as well as energy security for our nation and our allies across the globe.

 

Projects like these demonstrate exactly why Texas continues to lead the nation in LNG exports. In fact, the overall expanded output of LNG from the United States – allowing us to overtake previous top exporters Australia and Qatar in 2023 – was driven largely by facilities in Texas. As Texas business leaders know, exporting LNG is not just a ‘nice to have’ – it is a must-have to continue supporting our state’s robust economic growth and energy dominance.

 

LNG exports are also crucial for protecting our national security interests. Keeping our global allies like Poland, Germany, France the United Kingdom supplied with clean natural gas diminishes opportunities for adversaries like Russia to hold Europe’s energy supply hostage as a bargaining chip in future diplomatic negotiations regarding the war in Ukraine. In fact, when announcing a new energy partnership with the UK in 2022, President Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a joint statement vowing to “intensify our collaboration to support international energy security, affordability and sustainability, as Europe reduces its dependence on Russian energy.’'



This is why it is especially confounding to see the Biden administration’s recent ‘pause’ on approvals of any pending LNG export permits. While the permits for Phase 1 of the Port Arthur facility were thankfully secured before this misguided policy was issued, future projects and planned expansion of infrastructure will be impacted – crippling Texas’ ability to provide clean fuel to the world and further boost our already booming economy.

  

It is especially ironic that, despite the Biden administration allegedly pursuing this policy under the guide of environmental protection, LNG exports actually reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and are preferred over coal, according to the Biden Department of Energy. This facility in southeast Texas will reduce carbon footprints and reduce the carbon intensity of projects. Preventing Texas and the U.S. from becoming energy independent will weaken us and our national security during this particularly unstable time.

 

Unfortunately, the repercussions don’t end with the economic, national security, and environmental considerations. Injecting uncertainty into the industry impacts the investment decisions job creators must make, meaning Texans’ livelihoods could very well be at stake. This interruption in the momentum will have lasting effects on how natural gas producers plan for and execute new projects to sustain employment and capital investment, and all the indirect economic impacts that come with it.

 

However, over the past week, we have seen a few encouraging developments.

 

While addressing global energy leaders at the CERAWeek conference in Houston last Thursday, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm indicated that the administration’s ‘pause’ will likely be short-lived, telling attendees: “I predict that as we sit here next year...this will be well in the rearview mirror.” This is a tacit acknowledgement that the Biden administration is hearing the voices of energy industry leaders and public officials who have made clear that halting new LNG export approvals undermines our nation’s economic, national security, and environmental interests.

 

Additionally, this week, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced the creation of a new select committee to examine the impact of the administration’s ‘pause’ on LNG permits while identifying strategies to mitigate negative consequences for Texas’ LNG industry and energy sector more broadly. “It is important we fully understand what a prolonged pause would mean for our state’s thriving energy sector,” Speaker Phelan said in announcing the creation of the select committee. “With the oil and gas industry supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs statewide and serving as a key driver of community investments—including in the Southeast Texas House District I represent—we cannot idly stand by and let the federal government attempt to undermine this critical industry.”

 

It’s time for the Biden administration to stop messing with Texas, reverse the ‘pause’ on approving new LNG export projects, and let us resume our role as an “all-of-the-above” energy state.



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