A group of 44 congressional Democrats on Monday sent a letter to the White House calling for the Biden administration to crack down on permitting for liquified natural gas (LNG) projects, in the interest of combatting climate change and promoting “environmental justice.”
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) last year reversed Trump-era rules that barred the government from blocking projects based on their “indirect” climate impact, according to The Washington Post. The Democratic lawmakers in their letter called for the administration to scrutinize permits for LNG projects, arguing that current Trump-era rules failed to consider the emissions impact of methane gas and the harms that existing infrastructure caused to minority communities.
“We are concerned about the United States’ continued expansion of liquefied fossil gas (LNG) infrastructure and capacity, despite recent reports and analyses questioning the necessity of such development and the effect that this buildout will have on this country’s climate goals and frontline communities,” the lawmakers wrote. “Our ability to combat the worst impacts of the climate crisis depends, to a significant degree, on whether the United States approves proposed LNG pipeline and export terminal projects on top of the already-substantial LNG infrastructure.”
The group also called for the CEQ to establish a “cross-agency team” from various federal agencies to consider the “combined climate and environmental justice” impacts of any future natural gas permits. The lawmakers recommended including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of State, Department of Energy and “other relevant agencies,” for membership in this team.
The administration in January issued updated guidance on greenhouse gas regulation, obligating federal agencies to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions, incorporate social costs into cost-benefit analysis and focus regulatory scrutiny on fossil fuel projects as opposed to green energy projects, according to a White House fact sheet. The move also requires federal agencies report their greenhouse gas emissions and establish “broad scale” analysis to increase the efficiency of future environmental reviews.
The Biden administration has been under fire from some environmental activists over its recent approval of the Willow Project, a massive oil drilling operation in northern Alaska. The group of Democratic lawmakers on Monday described the Department of Energy’s analysis of the environmental impacts of the project as “not acceptable,” and alleged that the agency failed to conduct “rigorous analyses of alternatives” to the project.
The White House did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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