Merkley: Take Climate Impacts into Consideration when Reviewing New Fossil Gas Infrastructure Projects

Senator Applauds Administration Delaying CP2 approval to Analyze Climate Impacts; Calls for Greater Voice in Decision Making Process

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley applauded the Biden administration for pausing approval of Calcasieu Pass (CP2) in Louisiana, while the Department of Energy takes a greater look at the process for determining whether the project and other proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals are in the public interest. Merkley has long urged the administration to consider environmental science and the public health effects of these dangerous projects by creating a climate test.

“The science is clear: LNG – a fossil gas – is actually worse for the environment than coal. It’s irresponsible not to take climate impacts into consideration when reviewing whether new fossil gas infrastructure is in the public interest. It’s great news that the Biden administration is heeding my call to pause approval of CP2 and other proposed LNG export terminals and is revamping the process for determining if they are in the public interest, including considering climate and the environment. In partnership with climate activists around the country, I’ve pushed the Biden administration to implement a climate test as part of its process for approving dirty energy projects – including the CP2 LNG export project. It’s no secret that these projects would fail any meaningful climate test.

“It is long past time for the federal government to modernize how it determines whether the climate, environmental justice, and consumer cost impacts of LNG exports are in everyday Americans’ best interest. Since low-income and communities of color are impacted first and hardest by the effects of climate chaos, it is important that frontline communities are meaningfully and proactively engaged throughout environmental reviews. The administration’s pause included a much-needed public comment period, and it’s critical that communities directly affected by the proposed LNG terminals and other fossil gas infrastructure are given the opportunity to meaningfully engage in this process.

“This is also about American leadership globally. If we want to avoid catastrophic warming, we need to stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure now. Exporting fossil gas cannot be part of U.S. climate policy—it obliterates our climate goals and undermines our international climate leadership. The National Climate Assessment not only highlighted the damage climate chaos has already done to our communities, it reaffirmed that things will get worse in the future, if we don’t act now.

“This is a great step in the right direction. But we can’t underestimate the power that Big Oil wields, and it will continue to try to weaken review standards to lock in generations of dirty fossil projects. We have to fight for a world beyond the special interest greed that is holding us back from a clean energy future.”

Last year, Merkley led a bicameral letter with over 60 of his colleagues to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) urging the agency to update how it determines if new licenses for LNG exports are in the public interest. In May 2023 Senator Merkley led 40 of his colleagues in a bicameral letter urging greater scrutiny on the entire supply chain of LNG. And in 2022, Merkley joined Member of the European Parliament, Marie Toussaint, in a trans-Atlantic effort to transition to clean energy and prevent new liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure.