Daines Takes on Biden Administration For Downplaying Effects of Indefinite Pause to LNG Exports

Calls Administration’s Energy Policy “Radical Ideology” and “Out of Step with the American People”

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today criticized Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholmin a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing for downplaying the Biden administration’s indefinite pause on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and its radical plans to phase out fossil fuels.

Watch the exchange HERE.

Senator Daines: It’s been two and a half months since President Biden paused LNG exports in order to study their impacts. We are no closer to knowing when this pause will be lifted or if it ever will be lifted. If DOE follows the facts and looks at previously published reports, this study will come back the same as all the other previous studies, U.S. LNG exports build jobs and strengthen the economy, it reduces global emissions. I just met with the ambassador from Croatia. They’re just shocked around why the United States would pause LNG exports in the midst of war on the continent of Europe where Putin has weaponized LNG, weaponized natural gas. But I look no further than the White House website where the first quote in their press release lauds, and let me quote, “this Administration’s historic efforts to meet the global commitment to phase out fossil fuels.” Is LNG a fossil fuel?

Secretary Granholm: Yes, it is.

Daines: This is followed by the second quote, which features the hashtag “StopLNG.” So, Secretary Granholm, if this pause is truly about updating studies, then why do the majority of the quotes in the President’s own press release say, “StopLNG” and “phase out fossil fuels?”

Granholm: I haven’t seen those, but I can tell you that this is…

Daines: If you haven’t seen it, we’ll make sure you get it. This is a White House press release. You work for the President of the United States.

Granholm: I have not seen that press release or that quote, but I can tell you that it is a pause to update the study because so much has happened since the last time the study was done. We were only exporting four BCF of LNG at that time and now we are exporting 14 with another 12 BCF under construction and 48 Total authorized. This pause doesn’t affect any of that.

Daines: But you know we’ve been exporting LNG since 2016. And DOE has done numerous studies since then, including one that showed that LNG exports to Europe have the lowest lifecycle emissions. So, what exactly is DOE looking for that hasn’t already been published?

Granholm: Well, first of all, as Senator King noted, the fact that we would be potentially exporting up to 48 billion cubic feet. When the last study, it was just four and we use natural gas here at home. We produce about 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas at home. That means when we will be exporting, if in fact, it was all built, and I’m not saying it’s all going to be built, half of our production. What does that do for prices at home?

Daines: When will the study be completed?

Granholm: Um, around the end of the year…

Daines: Around the end of the year. So what information could DOE find during the study that would cause you to deny all future export applications?

Granholm: We’re not in this to deny all future exports.

Daines: I’d love to have you go see the White House’s own press release that says “phase out fossil fuels” because I don’t believe what you’re saying on prima facie. I think there is an ideology here that is clearly articulated in the White House’s own release. It says, “phase out fossil fuels,”“#StopLNG.” That doesn’t seem to be talking about pricing. That seems to be radical ideology on how to go to zero fossil fuels.

Granholm: I can tell you what our instructions have been to the national labs who are doing this study is follow the science and the data. And that’s all it is. It’s look at what the science and the data show both on prices at home, what the global demand will be in light of all of these countries saying that they’re making different pledges, what the demand will be on the part of our allies so that we can ensure they are well supplied.

Daines: As we’re watching Russia continue to destroy Ukraine, when our allies are pleading with us for more U.S. LNG.

Granholm: Our allies are getting their LNG. I just want to be super clear about that.

Daines: But Madam Secretary, with all due respect, the chilling message you send by pausing LNG permits is being heard around the world.

Granholm: It’s a pause for a study. You don’t need to hype it out of beyond what it is. It is a pause to get data.

Daines: So why couldn’t you do the study in parallel here instead of putting a pause on permits, because time is of the essence. We’re talking about a couple of permits. The message that’s sent, I will just tell you, maybe you’re talking to different allies than I’m talking to–

Granholm: I’m sending a different message, clearly, than others have been sending. The message I’m sending is: All your LNG that you have under long-term contract is going to be alright because you are already exporting, and it’s already been authorized. We are taking several months to do a study to determine what the impacts are of additional LNG authorization that would globally end at home.

Daines: I respectfully ask you to stop this highly political pause…

Granholm: It is a scientific pause.

Daines: …and get back to the mission of the Department of Energy.

Granholm: It is a scientific pause. We are gathering the data.

Daines: Well, I think you are yielding to the radical elements of the left. Go back to the White House press release that says, “stop fossil fuels”, “#StopLNG.” That doesn’t sound like a pause. That doesn’t sound like cost. That sounds like an ideology that wants to keep LNG from ever being shipped, anytime. That’s a radical ideology and it’s out of step with the American people. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Contact: Matt Lloyd, Rachel Dumke