'Obviously Political': WaPo Editorial Board Slams Biden's Move To Halt Natural Gas Terminals

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January 30, 2024

The Washington Post editorial board on Monday slammed President Joe Biden's move to put a hold on new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals as an "obviously political decision."

"The main short-run damage the administration’s obviously political decision does is to the United States’s reputation for rational, fact-based policymaking, and for wise consideration of climate control in the context of geopolitics," the board wrote.

"You cannot change demand for energy by destroying supply," it wrote. "If the United States did indeed curtail LNG exports, it would just drive customers into the arms of competitors such as Australia, Qatar, Algeria, and, yes, Russia. Quite possibly, some potential customers would choose to meet their needs with coal instead."

Monday's editorial came days after Biden froze permitting of new LNG export terminals to trade with countries with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement—which includes all of Europe—with one industry group calling the decision a "win for Russia."

Since Russia produces a large amount of the world's LNG, the board cited national security concerns, arguing that, while the move will likely not affect European or global LNG supplies in the next few years, "the problem is what might happen beyond that in, say, the next quarter-century."

It further slammed Biden's "election-year sop to climate activists," arguing that the environmental gains will not be worth the other potential hazards.

"Either way, the effect on global carbon emission is likely marginal, even if it’s true, as climate activists maintain, that natural gas liquefaction and shipping are energy-intensive processes and increase the fuel’s carbon footprint," the board wrote.

The editors compared last week's announcement to the "political theater over the Keystone XL pipeline." Biden canceled the oil pipeline on his first day in office even though it went through lengthy environmental and economic analysis, as the board wrote.

The Washington Post's editors are not the only ones to criticize Biden's LNG policy. Days before the freeze, Biden delayed approval for what would have been the largest LNG export terminal in the country, prompting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to call the president's agenda "bad for America."