Biden likely to defy and ignore court ruling blocking his ordered 'pause' on most natural gas exports

By 
 July 6, 2024

President Joe Biden and his administration like to tout themselves as defenders of the rule of law and respective of court decisions -- but that only seems to apply when the laws and decisions align with their agenda.

When existing laws and court rulings are in opposition to that agenda, Biden and his administration openly and routinely defy them, as they appear to be doing in response to a court blocking a unilaterally imposed ban on the export of liquified natural gas and, the Daily Caller reported.

Both industry and environmentalist groups believe that Biden's administration will ignore the court's ruling and proceed with an indefinite "pause" on most LNG exports and the approval of construction of new LNG export terminals.

Biden's order blocked by court

In January, President Biden's White House announced that as part of the administration's "most ambitious climate agenda in history," there would be a "temporary pause on pending decisions on exports" to nations without a free-trade agreement, ostensibly so the Department of Energy could update its analysis of costs/benefits and environmental impact as well as the permit approval processes.

That indefinite "pause" on most LNG exports and approvals for new LNG export terminals was shortly thereafter challenged by a coalition of Republican-led states who argued that the policy amounted to a de facto ban that caused economic harm in the form of lost revenue and deferred or denied investments.

On Monday, a federal judge in Louisiana, U.S. District Judge James Cain Jr., sided with the states and issued a preliminary injunction to block the administration's policy as likely violating the Administrative Procedures Act, the Congressional Review Act, and the U.S. Constitution.

In response, the president's X account posted, "Yesterday's court ruling on our pause on Liquified Natural Gas exports is incredibly disappointing. I'll continue doing everything I can to protect our environment and our communities, while ensuring America’s energy security."

Nothing will change

Yet, according to several industry and environmentalist experts, the judge's ruling will likely have little or no impact in terms of compelling the Department of Energy to end the "pause" on most LNG exports or expedite the approval of new LNG export terminals, per the Daily Caller.

"I doubt it is going to affect the tempo of the Department of Energy," Republican strategist Mike McKenna, who has experience in the energy industry, told the outlet. "I think Team Biden has already made up its mind to make the pause permanent in the event they win. The study is just to make that seem more rational and less political. The judgment won’t affect any of that."

Energy sector consultant, expert, and writer David Blackmon said that Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm "and her ideologue deputies have an array of administrative options at their disposal to avoid lifting a finger in response to the judge’s order."

"Neither the DOE nor the White House will move in any way on this for one simple reason: This 'pause' was an election year political payoff to Biden’s radical climate activist support base from Day 1," he added. "Every move this administration makes is based on a purely political calculation, and the overriding politics of the pause have not changed in the wake of Judge Cain’s ruling."

Even the Sierra Club, which supports the now-blocked policy, thinks nothing will change, as staff attorney Louisa Eberle said, "While the ruling requires DOE to proceed with evaluating pending LNG applications, this preliminary injunction does not order DOE to issue any specific decisions or stop the critical process of updating the data it relies on to determine whether those applications are in the public interest as required by law."

She added, "DOE has the authority -- and obligation -- to adequately review the true impacts of LNG exports, and we believe they will come to the same conclusion we have, which is that expanded LNG exports are not in the public interest and the pending applications should be denied."

A history of ignoring court rulings not in the administration's favor

Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, also expressed skepticism that the ruling would change anything, given that "All of these things, whether it’s student loans or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the leasing system -- offshore and onshore -- the administration has just basically ignored the law, and Biden knows that by the time the courts will catch up with him, he’ll get what he wants anyway."

"I think everyone is just dismissing the ruling, which is tragic in our system. We’ve got a three-branch system, and if the executive does something that the courts reject, theoretically, they’re supposed to adhere to it," he added.

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