DOE defends LNG export pause, dismisses industry challenge

By Carlos Anchondo, Timothy Cama | 04/04/2024 06:24 AM EDT

A letter posted on the department website pushes back on arguments from the American Petroleum Institute.

Department of Energy headquarters in Washington.

The Department of Energy headquarters in Washington. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The Biden administration is defending its freeze on liquefied natural gas export approvals in a new letter to industry, arguing that the pause is necessary and will only last a year at most.

The defense came in a six-page document sent to the American Petroleum Institute (API) from the Department of Energy, which rejected the organization’s plea in February seeking to stop the pause President Joe Biden instituted on pending LNG approvals in January. The White House said the purpose is to study potential climate and economic impacts from rapidly growing gas exports.

“DOE is undertaking a step in its usual process — in accordance with DOE’s past practice — to update the analyses that DOE has long determined are necessary to make a reliable assessment of the public interest,” Brad Crabtree, DOE’s assistant secretary for fossil energy and carbon management, wrote in the letter, which was posted on DOE’s website.


The letter was dated March 27, before reports emerged that the administration was open to lifting the LNG moratorium in exchange for Ukraine aid. But the new letter echoes a separate White House response Wednesday reiterating its support for the pause.