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Judge Blocks Biden Administration’s LNG Export Moratorium

Payam Javan: A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction to halt the Biden administration’s temporary moratorium on new licenses to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-free trade agreement countries. The lawsuit, led by Louisiana and joined by 15 other states, claimed the Department of Energy (DOE) violated federal law by pausing the licenses to assess climate change impacts. Judge James Cain Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled that the DOE’s decision was “completely without reason or logic,” and that the plaintiff states have standing to challenge the moratorium. The judge ordered the immediate stay of the LNG export ban, citing potential irreparable harm to Louisiana’s economy.

Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill praised the ruling, calling it a major victory for American energy and highlighting that the pause threatened $61 billion in pending infrastructure projects in Louisiana, where the LNG market supports 18,000 jobs and contributes $4.4 billion annually. The Biden administration had implemented the pause to scrutinize the economic and environmental impacts of LNG exports, citing climate change concerns, with exceptions for national security emergencies. The DOE has yet to respond to the court’s decision.

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