Need for New US LNG Exports Is ‘A Good Question,’ Biden Aide Says

(Bloomberg) -- A senior White House energy adviser said the need for new facilities to export liquefied natural gas abroad is an open question amid exponential growth in US shipments of the fuel abroad.

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“Do we even need more facilities is a good question to ask,” Amos Hochstein, the president’s senior adviser for energy and investment, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power” Thursday. “I don’t know the answer to that.”

Hochstein was responding to a question about whether a pause on new approvals to export LNG could be made permanent. The White House announced the freeze in late January while the Energy Department scrutinizes how the shipments affect climate change, the economy and national security. Some analysts expect the halt to go beyond the November presidential election.

The Biden administration’s move has put more than a dozen projects now awaiting review at the Energy Department in limbo and strikes at the heart of the debate over LNG’s role in the future of energy. Advocates argue the fuel is crucial in weaning developing nations off of coal and supporting European allies, while opponents, including many progressive voters whose support Biden will need to win reelection, warn that building the massive infrastructure required to ship LNG ensures it will be burned for years to come.

Earlier: Top Biden Energy Official Defends LNG Export Approval Pause

The US has become the largest exporter of LNG in the world and is on track to double its export capacity, Hochstein noted, saying that it’s imperative for the administration to consider the market impact of further development. He also reiterated the need to evaluate the environmental and climate impacts on the communities along the Gulf Coast before awarding more permits.

--With assistance from Kailey Leinz.

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