Biden stops short of veto threat on natural gas export bill

By Nico Portuondo | 02/13/2024 04:12 PM EST

The House plans to vote by Friday on legislation that would rescind the Department of Energy’s authority over natural gas exports.

President Joe Biden.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Tuesday. Evan Vucci/AP

The White House said Tuesday that it “strongly opposes” a measure from House Republicans that would lift the pause on liquefied natural gas export approvals, but it did not threaten a veto from President Joe Biden.

H.R. 7176, from Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission exclusive jurisdiction to approve LNG facilities. The bill is up for a floor vote this week.

Last month, the Department of Energy announced that it would stop approving new exports to nations without a free-trade agreement until it can review how it determines whether projects are in the public interest. The administration wants to focus more on climate and domestic prices.


The decision has sparked weeks of blowback from Republicans and some moderate Democrats, who argue that the pause could have deleterious effects on national security and the climate.

In a statement of administration policy released Tuesday, the White House said the bill would eliminate regulatory procedures designed to protect consumers from energy price hikes and the effects of climate change.

“These determinations involve a review of the economic impacts, including potential changes to domestic natural gas and electricity prices on consumers and manufacturers, and environmental impacts of the exports,” the statement read.

“The Administration believes that the critical protections current law provides, which this legislation would repeal, should be retained to protect residential and industrial consumers and national and domestic energy security,” the statement continued.

Pfluger’s bill has already won the support of Democratic co-sponsors Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Mary Peltola of Alaska, along with 17 other House Republicans.

On Tuesday, more than 65 climate and environmental organizations expressed strong support for Biden’s LNG export approval pause and urged Congress not to accelerate the expansion of LNG infrastructure.