Biden Allies Sue To Block Major Natural Gas Export Project

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Nick Pope Contributor
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Environmental activist organizations who have backed President Joe Biden are suing his administration to block a major liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal.

The Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit Thursday against multiple federal agencies to block a major LNG export facility located in Alaska, alleging that underlying environmental reviews conducted by the government were inadequate. The Center for Biological Diversity has yet to endorse a candidate in the 2024 presidential race, but backed President Joe Biden in 2020, while the Sierra Club has already endorsed Biden for 2024, as it did in 2020.

“Petitioners Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club seek this Court’s review of two biological opinions regarding a new liquified natural gas (LNG) project in Alaska,” the lawsuit states. “The Alaska LNG project would affect many places and animals that Petitioners’ members enjoy for recreation, aesthetic, and scientific purposes.” (RELATED: Could Joe Biden’s Natural Gas Pause Cost Dems The Senate In November?)

SC-CBD LNG Lawsuit by Nick Pope on Scribd

Specifically, the organizations allege that government agencies’ environmental reviews for the facility did not fully and properly account for potential harm that the terminal could cause polar bears, Cook Inlet beluga whales and North Pacific right whales, according to the Sierra Club’s press release.

The Alaska LNG project would consist of a treatment facility in Alaska’s North Slope to handle gas extracted from fields owned by major energy companies like ExxonMobil, which would then be sent 800 miles south via pipeline to the Kenai Peninsula where the gas would be chilled and shipped to buyers in Asia, according to Alaska Public Media. The project is expected to cost about $44 billion to build, according to the Alaska Beacon.

“I’m outraged by how thoroughly federal agencies ignored the many ways this LNG project is likely to harm endangered whales and polar bears,” Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in the press release. “Our climate can’t take more fossil fuel extraction and neither can these desperately imperiled animals. They’ll suffer more habitat destruction and other harms from this project. Alaska’s wildlife needs officials to really think through these kinds of risks, but the federal government decided to duck its legal obligations here and leave endangered species in the lurch.”

The Biden administration decided in January to give environmentalists a major victory by pausing approvals for new LNG export hubs while the government reviews the climate impacts of such facilities.

The Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the White House, the Department of the Interior and the Commerce Department did not respond immediately to requests for comment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service both declined to comment, citing the active nature of the litigation.

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