Lawmakers pitch rider against Biden gas export pause

By Nico Portuondo | 02/23/2024 01:15 PM EST

A bipartisan group of House members wants upcoming spending legislation to undo President Joe Biden’s natural gas export permit moratorium.

Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.Va.).

Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.Va.) wants to use the fiscal 2024 spending process against the administration's policy on natural gas exports. Patrick Semansky/AP

House lawmakers from both parties are pitching a policy rider for upcoming spending legislation that would effectively eliminate President Joe Biden’s liquefied natural gas export permitting pause.

Members of the Energy Export Caucus — led by Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.Va.) — sent a letter Friday asking congressional leaders to include a policy rider in the final fiscal 2024 Energy-Water bill to prohibit funds from being used to modify public interest review standards for liquefied natural gas export approvals.

“The Department of Energy has also confirmed that American LNG is up to 30% cleaner than Russian natural gas, and if we do not fulfill the demand for LNG and let other countries like Russia control the markets, emissions will continue to rise,” the lawmakers wrote.


“Given these grave concerns, we request that the final Fiscal Year 2024 Energy and Water Appropriations Act include bill language prohibiting funds from being used to modify, alter, or change the public interest review,” they said.

Appropriators are racing to finalize and pass a set of four spending bills — including the Energy title — by March 1 before a partial shutdown.

House Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to include several partisan riders, including measures that would defund clean energy and environment programs and mandate fossil fuel lease sales.

Democrats have lobbied against what they see as poison-pill riders, but the LNG export pause has attracted significant bipartisan angst.

The LNG letter includes Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Mary Peltola of Alaska, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Jim Costa of California.

Last week, nine House Democrats — including lawmakers on the new letter — helped Republicans pass the “Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act,” H.R. 7176, from Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), which would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the “exclusive authority” to approve LNG projects.

After next week’s partial funding deadline, lawmakers will have to pass the Interior-Environment bill and seven others by March 8.

Leaders have yet to say whether Congress will meet the deadlines or pursue another stopgap.