US House passes bill to reverse Biden’s LNG pause By Reuters

©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden looks on as he meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House is expected to vote on Thursday on a bill that seeks to strip President Joe Biden’s administration of the power to freeze liquefied export approvals.

If it were to pass the Republican-controlled House, the bill would likely struggle in the Democratic-controlled Senate if brought to a vote.

The bill sponsored by Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas gas producer, would leave the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the only body to approve LNG projects.

“We think it may mark more of a messaging effort and the start of a debate than the end of the pause, as the bill appears unlikely to pass the Senate,” the research group said in a note to clients independent on energy policy ClearView Energy Partners.

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

The pause has sparked protests from Republicans who say it will hurt jobs and damage the energy security of allies, especially in Europe, where countries are trying to reduce dependence on the Russian gas pipeline after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. 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 to three years. Sefcovic said the United States is now the “global guarantor of energy security” and that its responsibility goes beyond Europe.

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