Biden seeks to appease progressives with climate moves

The Biden Administration is trying to appease the progressives that want to see it block any proposed expansion of natural gas exports.

The 2024 elections are fast approaching and many left-wing voters have soured on Biden. It appears that the administration is poised to give at least a partial victory to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party by taking measures to raise climate concerns and possibly delay proposed projects.

The left-wing politicians and voters are pushing the administration to reject terminals proposed for the export of American natural gas overseas, citing the potential negative impact on the climate. The administration will reportedly implement stricter climate review for these projects, which could slow them down.

Federal law requires that the administration determine if such projects are in the public interest before approving them.

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Politico reported first this month that the criteria for public interest will be reviewed, and in particular whether climate factors should be included.

The Hill reported this week that an announcement was expected shortly.

Source: While the administration reviews the criteria, any new approvals are expected to be halted.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that this move would delay a proposed major gas terminal, known as CP2, and which has been criticized by climate activists.

A spokesperson from the White House declined comment. The Energy Department spokesperson did not reply to a comment request.

Biden is concerned about the announcement because the administration has been disillusioned by some progressive voters. His reelection prospects could be affected by whether the progressive base of Democrats turns out to vote in November.

Harvard’s fall 2023 survey found that younger voters were less likely to vote 2024 than in 2020.

Biden was criticized by the left over his handling in Gaza, and his age. Last year, he upset many young voters and environmentalists on the left when he approved a major oil drilling project in Alaska, the Willow Project.

Many climate activists, after the approval of this project, turned their attention towards the pending natural-gas export project applications, particularly the CP2 Project.

Progressives and environmental groups praised the reports that Biden was going to try to delay the CP2 and force it to go through a climate assessment.

In a blog post published on X (formerly Twitter), Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., wrote: “This is a big win for scientists, activists and young people that spoke up and made this happen.”

Bill McKibben, a climate activist, wrote on X: “Um, um, I think we just won.”

In a Substack post, he said that the move was “very, very savvy” because “Biden is looking for young people who are concerned about climate change above all else to be in his corner.”

Shaylyn Hynes is a Venture Global spokesperson, the company that created the CP2 Project. She said in a statement that “it appears that individuals at the White House try to force policymaking by leaking to the media.”

She stated that a pause would “shock the global energy markets… and send an incredibly damaging signal to our allies, that they cannot rely on us anymore.”

Burning natural gas contributes to global warming, just like burning coal and oil. Gas burning produces fewer emissions than oil or coal. However, environmental activists point out that gas production itself also releases emissions.

The fuel’s supporters have emphasized its ability to replace coal and oil, and that bringing more natural gas to the U.S. could make the country less dependent on other producers, such as Russia, in the future.

Environmental activists praised the move as a step in the right directions, but some felt that a pause, a climate review, or even a stop to the project would not suffice.

We are here because of the growing pressure on youth and communities in frontline areas to stop fossil fuel expansion. The administration must now go to the extreme and reject CP2 as well as all new oil projects, Jean Su, director for the Center for Biological Diversity’s Energy Justice program said in a statement.