The Biden Administration’s Strategy for Reviewing Gas-Export Permits

LNG U.S supply slow down

31st October 2023


In a marked departure from the previous administration’s approach, the Biden administration has instigated a methodical evaluation process for gas-export permits. This shift signifies a deliberate and comprehensive review strategy that has slowed the approval pace for natural gas export projects, aiming to closely consider environmental impacts and long-term consequences.

Contrasting Approaches: Trump vs. Biden Administration

Under the Trump administration, there was a notable push to expedite energy production, including natural gas, to fortify the United States’ energy independence and market competitiveness. This translated to an accelerated review and approval process for gas-export permits, aiming to facilitate increased shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to international markets.

US Liquefied natural gas capacity

Deceleration in Approval Pace Under Biden

In contrast, the Biden administration has introduced a more meticulous and deliberate approach. The Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are subjecting applications for gas-export permits to a more rigorous scrutiny. As a result, the pace of approval for these projects has considerably slowed.

Increased Scrutiny and Thorough Evaluation Process

The administration’s emphasis on environmental impact assessments, examination of greenhouse gas emissions, and a broader evaluation of the implications of LNG exports has significantly contributed to the slower pace. There’s a notable increase in the number of applications held up or undergoing extended evaluation periods compared to the previous administration.

LNG tanker

Diverse Stakeholder Reactions

This shift in strategy has elicited mixed reactions from various stakeholders. Environmental activists and advocacy groups have lauded the administration’s careful approach, focusing on environmental implications. However, the energy industry and some lawmakers express concerns about potential economic implications, arguing that a prolonged review process could hinder the nation’s global energy market competitiveness and impact domestic economic growth.

Balancing Economic Interests and Environmental Concerns

The Biden administration underscores the importance of balancing economic interests with environmental considerations. The review process aligns with the administration’s broader initiatives to tackle climate change, ensuring that the energy policy conforms to climate goals and international commitments to curb carbon emissions.

Impact on Approved Gas-Export Projects

Statistics reveal a significant decrease in the number of approved natural gas export projects under the Biden administration compared to the previous one. The rigorous evaluation process has led to fewer projects receiving the necessary permits to export LNG.

Proponents’ Defense of Meticulous Review

Supporters of the administration’s approach argue that this meticulous review is crucial to understand and mitigate the environmental impact of increased natural gas exports. They emphasize the necessity of a comprehensive assessment to ensure that economic interests are balanced with environmental concerns.

U.S strategy for LNG supply

Conclusion: Future Trajectory and Implications

In conclusion, the Biden administration’s more meticulous review process for gas-export permits represents a significant shift from the previous administration’s expedited approach. This change reflects a deliberate effort to evaluate environmental impacts and broader consequences of increased natural gas exports. As the administration continues to strike a balance between economic interests and environmental concerns, the future trajectory of gas-export permits and their impact on both the domestic and global landscape remains under scrutiny.

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