“There is absolutely nothing natural about fracked gas, it is just a marketing term to make it seem like what I’m using here isn’t gonna impact me”, Elida Castillo, Program Director Chispa Texas (Brussels, Oct. 12, 2023)
In an important step for people and the planet, the Biden Administration announced last week its decision to temporarily pause pending decisions on exports of Liquified ‘Natural’ Gas (LNG). Biden’s gas export decision suspends projects like the construction of the Calcasieu Pass 2 (or CP2) in Louisiana, whose residents already experience the worst toxic pollution of any people across the U.S.
CP2 is a $10 billion behemoth slated to become one of the largest LNG export terminals in the world. LNG facilities are a direct threat to public health in nearby communities, and drive demand for fracking, a destructive drilling technique tied to dramatic rise in climate-warming methane emissions.
While Biden’s announcement marks a step forward, it does not impact LNG export projects that are already operating or permitted. The fossil fuel industry has already locked in massive infrastructure expansion: U.S. LNG exports have grown exponentially in the past years, and five LNG export projects currently under construction will double U.S. export capacity by 2027. This is why an immediate and permanent rejection of all proposed LNG exports and infrastructure is vital. It is imperative to send a strong message to the fossil fuel industry that this isn’t just a pause, but rather a firm commitment that there is no future in LNG and fossil gas.
The fight will not be over until all LNG projects are definitively stopped. LNG expansion only serves the interests of the fossil fuel industry and shackles us to a deadly fossil-fueled future. Only a swift, just and participatory transition to 100% renewable energy gives us a chance to avoid climate catastrophe. As the EU elections approach, it is vital for the EU institutions to put the phase out of fossil fuels at the top of their agenda. This must be coupled with investments in energy efficiency and energy savings, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
As we applaud this win, we must recognize the tireless efforts of activists and frontline communities who have long been sounding the alarm on the devastating impacts of LNG and fracking. In solidarity with overseas fights, EU environmental organizations are supporting calls to stop new LNG investments on both sides of the Atlantic, which will risk creating stranded assets in the coming years. Especially following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, LNG expansion projects mushroomed in the EU, U.S. and elsewhere in the world. In 2022 the EU became the primary destination for the U.S. LNG shipments, and the bloc is still betting big on LNG to replace the millions of tonnes of fossil gas previously imported from Russia via pipeline.
As highlighted in a letter sent by 60 MEPs from across the EU before the Biden Administration decision and reiterated in an joint NGOs open-letter, the expansion of LNG cannot be justified as a necessity for energy security, and Europe cannot be used as an excuse for LNG expansion in the U.S.
While the U.S. decision is indeed a reason to celebrate, it serves as a poignant reminder that the fight for a sustainable, just and oppression free future is far from over. It demonstrates that together we can kick fossil fuels out of our lives – in the EU, U.S., and around the world.