U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) greets John Fetterman before a speech by President Joe Biden at the United Steelworkers of America Local Union 2227 on September 5, 2022 in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Pennsylvania U.S. Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey released a statement this week expressing concern about the president’s decision to pause some export approvals for liquified natural gas, or LNG.
The Biden administration announced on Jan. 26 that it was pausing approvals of new exports of LNG to all countries without a free trade agreement with the United States.
“Pennsylvania is an energy state. As the second largest natural gas-producing state, this industry has created good-paying energy jobs in towns and communities across the Commonwealth and has played a critical role in promoting U.S. energy independence,” Casey and Fetterman wrote.
“While the immediate impacts on Pennsylvania remain to be seen, we have concerns about the long-term impacts that this pause will have on the thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry. If this decision puts Pennsylvania energy jobs at risk, we will push the Biden Administration to reverse this decision.”
Biden said in a statement on Jan. 26 that during the pause, the administration would “take a hard look at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security and our environment.”
Environmental groups hailed the decision, but groups representing the oil and gas industry— including the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several state-level industry groups— wrote to U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and other administration officials promoting the fuel and its benefits.
Fetterman and Casey are not the only Democrats to split with the Biden administration over the LNG pause. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said in a news release the day the pause was announced that if this pause is just another political ploy to pander to keep-it-in-the-ground climate activists at the expense of American workers, businesses, and our allies in need, I will do everything in my power to end this pause immediately. ” He added that as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he would hold a hearing on the LNG pause “in the coming weeks.”
Plans to build a $6.4 billion LNG export terminal in Chester, one of Pennsylvania’s poorest cities, have been met with opposition from residents, who raised concerns about the possible health impacts.
Community leaders said Tuesday that a plan to build a $6.4 billion liquid natural gas export terminal would compound decades of environmental injustice in Chester, one of Pennsylvania’s poorest cities.
Advocates, including the city’s Democratic nominee for mayor, vowed to fight construction of the facility proposed by a New York firm to prepare natural gas from northeast and western Pennsylvania for shipment to markets in Europe and elsewhere.
“New polluting industries are not welcome in Chester. The health and safety of Chester residents have been compromised by local industry for too long,” Chester Councilperson Stefan Roots said at a rally in August.
Speaking at a hearing of the Philadelphia Liquid Natural Gas Export Task Force, chaired by state Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia), Roots said the legacy of Chester’s industrial history is a higher disease rate among the Delaware County city’s 35,000 residents.
Penn LNG is headed by a Philadelphia native, Franc James, who has worked to set up LNG facilities in other parts of the region, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Correction: This article was updated that the Senators released a statement with their concerns about liquefied natural gas and to remove an erroneous reference to an executive vice president of government and regulatory affairs
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