Biden Administration is meeting behind closed doors with the methane gas industry
This week, oil and gas executives are putting on the North American Gas Forum, a closed-door get-together at a fancy hotel in the nation’s capital where their high-priced lobbyists will urge industry regulators to approve massive liquified gas export (LNG) projects like Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2). This massive methane gas facility is the Biden Administration’s “next big climate test”, and would have a full climate impact 20 times larger than the recently approved Willow oil and gas leases in Alaska.
Several high-ranking government officials that are in charge of approving CP2 and other LNG projects are speaking at the event, including James Danly, a commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and an assistant secretary at the Department of Energy. But the general public and Gulf Coast community members impacted by pollution from these facilities aren’t allowed in.
In total, the industry is proposing 22 new gas export facilities that would produce the same amount of climate pollution as 440 coal plants. This is unacceptable. Time and time again, oil and gas executives have made it clear that their top priority is expanding their own wallets at the expense of people’s well-being. This meeting is yet another example of their flippant disregard for the health of everyday Americans.
However, the Biden Administration has the ability to protect Americans from the dangers of emissions. LNG export projects can’t be built without the Department of Energy determining that they are “in the public interest.” That makes the upcoming decision on CP2 one of the most impactful climate decisions the Biden Administration has faced yet.
Today Gas Leaks joined members of Congress and Gulf Coast community advocates in denouncing federal regulators’ involvement in the methane gas conference and calling for the Biden Administration to say “no” to more methane gas exports:
Congressman Jared Huffman, California’s 2nd Congressional District
“Fossil fuel industry fat cats are once again wheeling and dealing in D.C. to cook up more ways to keep America dependent on dirty energy. And their latest strategy is straight out of Big Tobacco’s filtered cigarettes playbook: they’re telling us that America’s planet-killing addiction to fossil fuel has turned over a healthy new, green leaf,” said Rep. Huffman. “But those of us who care about the health and safety of communities, protection of our environment, and livability of the planet have a responsibility to push back against the endless expansion of LNG projects. No matter how industry minions try to gaslight us, the climate science is undeniable – fossil fuel is not clean, safe, or climate-friendly – and selling out our planet for Big Oil profits is a price we can’t afford.”
Roishetta Sibley Ozane, Founder of Vessel Project of Louisiana:
“The fact of the matter is, oil and gas executives are targeting the Gulf Coast for methane gas exports because they don’t think that our communities have the ability to oppose them. They are trying to take advantage of the underserved communities of Southern Louisiana — communities that have already suffered and that they believe won’t organize. That is why we’re getting loud now. We know that those executives are up in Washington meeting with regulators and we’re here to say that those administration officials need to listen to US about what we want in our backyards, NOT the gas executives who are trying to wine and dine them this week.”
James Hiatt, Director of For A Better Bayou:
“Folks in Southern Louisiana want better education and opportunities for our children, and the ability to enjoy the Gulf’s abundant natural resources and beauty. We want a place so thriving that our kids won’t feel compelled to leave. We’ve seen way more risks than rewards from the 3 operating LNG terminals in Southwest Louisiana. These terminals haven’t created many jobs or a better quality of life – they’ve diminished the quality of life by flaring and regularly releasing benzene, methane, and formaldehyde. These exports also drive up our costs of electricity and food, all while these companies receive billions in tax exemptions. We refuse to allow more dangerous ticking time bombs in our backyards that we have to live with each and every day.”
Caleb Heeringa, Campaign Director of Gas Leaks:
“It’s tremendously inappropriate for federal regulators to be schmoozing with fossil fuel industry lobbyists behind closed doors at the same time they’re weighing whether to approve massive methane gas export projects that would worsen the climate crisis and pollute communities of color on the Gulf Coast. The Biden Administration has an opportunity to take bold climate action, live up to its environmental justice commitments and protect US families from higher monthly energy bills by saying ‘No’ to LNG export projects like CP2.”