April 15, 2024

Sixteen US states, including Texas, Louisiana and Florida, have filed a lawsuit to challenge the US federal government’s ban on approving applications to export liquefied natural gas, the office of Texas attorney general Ken Paxton said on Thursday.

The lawsuit argues the federal government lacks the authority to broadly deny those permits.

Joe Biden said in January that the pause will allow officials to review its process for analyzing economic and environmental impacts of projects seeking approval to export LNG, or liquefied natural gas, to Europe and Asia where the fuel is in high demand.

Experts say the pause could imperil the future of more than a dozen gas export terminals that have been planned for the Gulf of Mexico coast and caused widespread concerns among environmentalist groups and some local residents.

According to one analysis, if all proposed LNG projects were to go ahead and ship gas overseas, it would result in 3.2bn tons of greenhouse gases – equivalent to the entire emissions of the European Union.

“This pause on new LNG approvals sees the climate crisis for what it is – the existential threat of our time,” Biden said in announcing the pause in January.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It claims the US Department of Energy’s pause will harm the economy and undermine efforts to supply foreign allies in Europe with steady supplies of LNG as the region seeks to wean itself off piped gas from Russia.

Reuters contributed to this report

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