Pfluger's Bill to Force Biden to Allow Natural Gas Exports Passes the House


WASHINGTON, DC — Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11) has successfully shepherded landmark legislation that will create jobs in his district and save the west Texas natural gas industry. His legislation, HR 7176, titled, "Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act of 2024" passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 224-200. All Republicans and 9 Democrats voted for the bill.

The House bill will go to the U.S. Senate where Sen. Tim Scott has introduced companion legislation.

On January 26th, 2024, in a move that seemed to be to spite Texas Governor Greg Abbott for his stand against the feds over the border in Eagle Pass, President Biden announced an indefinite ban on the issuance of export permits to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries while it conducts a review to consider the climate impacts of natural gas. In the announcement, the White House fact sheet justified the action based on the desire to “act with urgency” to address the “existential threat” of climate change.

Currently, the United States has FTAs with 20 countries, including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore, and with Mexico and Canada via the USMCA trade agreement. Japan and the U.S. have a free trade agreement that covers critical minerals. Note that European and many Asian countries are not on this list.

“Once again President Biden is playing politics with the Permian Basin,” said Pfluger on Feb. 1 when he introduced the bill.

Current law requires that natural gas exports to countries with which the U.S. has an FTA be approved without delay. For non-FTA countries, the Energy Secretary is required to approve export requests unless they find exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.” There is a clear statutory presumption that U.S. LNG exports are in the public interest.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has already commissioned five studies to examine the effects of U.S. LNG exports. The results unanimously demonstrate the benefits to the U.S. economy and domestic natural gas prices. DOE has also issued two studies that examined the life cycle greenhouse gas impacts of U.S. LNG exports showing strong environmental benefits. In fact, the two prior presidential administrations conducted these studies without blocking export permits.

Pfluger spoke on the House floor about the bill and the issues surrounding it. Watch here:

Rep. Pfluger: Biden's LNG Ban Weakens America

The Pfluger bill:

  • Amends the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717b) to repeal all restrictions on the import and export of natural gas.
  • Provides that FERC shall have the exclusive authority to approve or deny any application for authorization for the siting, construction, expansion, or operation of a facility to export natural gas from the U.S. to a foreign country or import natural gas from a foreign country, including an LNG terminal.
  • Makes clear that nothing in this section limits the authority of the President under the Constitution, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), part B of title II of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6271 et seq.), the Trading With the Enemy Act (50 U.S.C. 4301 et seq.), or any other provision of law that imposes sanctions on a foreign person or foreign government, including a country that is designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, to prohibit imports or exports.

The legislation was originally introduced by former Representative Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) and was included in both H.R.1, the Low Energy Costs Act, and H.R. 2811, the Limit, Save, Grow Act. Both of those bills passed the House of Representatives and have since stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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