In a monumental decision, the Biden Administration has announced a pause in reviewing applications for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities. This move comes as a significant milestone in the fight for climate justice and demonstrates the administration's commitment to addressing the urgent challenges posed by the climate crisis. The decision to reassess the process used to approve these projects is a crucial step towards environmental justice and equity.
The Need for Change:
The current guidelines on LNG date back to 1984 and were designed to implement the Reagan administration's energy policy on natural gas imports. Since then, the United States has become the world's largest exporter of LNG. However, there is a growing recognition across the federal government that action must be taken to mitigate the catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. The pause on reviewing LNG applications forces decision makers to consider the climate, economic, and national security implications of these projects more carefully.
Impacts on Frontline Communities:
Communities living near LNG projects, such as the proposed CP2 terminal in Southwest Louisiana, have been disproportionately affected. Our communities have experienced economic disenfranchisement and systemic racism, leading to the siting of toxic plants, pipelines, and storage tanks in our neighborhoods. The emissions from these facilities, including methane and other dangerous pollutants, have detrimental effects on ours and our children's health. Frontline communities, like mine, are experiencing the devastating effects of the climate crisis on a daily basis, from fossil-fueled hurricanes to polluted water sources.
The Case Against LNG Exports:
Exporting LNG not only raises energy prices for American families, like mine, but also contributes to worsening the climate crisis. Recent research suggests that LNG exports are even worse for the climate than coal. Moreover, allowing fossil fuel CEOs to sell increasing amounts of U.S. LNG to countries like China compromises national security. The pause on LNG exports is a crucial step in reevaluating the long-term implications of these projects and transitioning to cleaner energy sources.
The Power of the Pause:
While some may question why a pause is considered a victory, it is important to recognize the legal limitations. The administration cannot outright reject these facilities without facing swift legal challenges. Strategically, a pause is the most effective approach, as it halts the progress of these projects and provides an opportunity for reassessment. It empowers frontline communities to have a seat at the table and ensures that our voices and experiences shape the decisions that impact our lives.
The Path Forward:
The victory in securing the pause on LNG exports is just the beginning. Frontline communities are now advocating for greater change, including our involvement in determining whether these projects are in the public interest. We are asking for the Fossil Free Finance Act to be passed. Now is the time for big banks to make a bold statement and stand on the side of communities by divesting from these racist projects that are overwhelmingly located in or near black, brown, indigenous, and people of color communities. Additionally, we are calling for the reinstatement of the ban on fossil fuel exports to not only halt the permitting of these facilities but also prevent the export of fossil fuels altogether. This historic moment serves as a reminder that the fight for true, lasting justice requires continued dedication and accountability.
The Biden Administration's decision to pause reviewing applications for new LNG export facilities is a significant step towards climate justice. It reflects a commitment to addressing the urgent challenges of the climate crisis and prioritizing environmental justice and equity. However, this victory should serve as a call to action, urging us to continue the fight to safeguard the future of our planet and hold decision-makers accountable. With collective efforts, we can build a sustainable and just future for all.