Billionaires Influenced Biden to Halt Approvals of Natural Gas Exports
In a move that has sent shockwaves through the energy sector, President Joe Biden recently announced a pause on new approvals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the United States. This decision, ostensibly made to review the nation’s burgeoning status as the world’s top LNG exporter, has raised eyebrows and ire alike, particularly among oil and gas companies. However, a deeper look into the forces behind this sudden policy shift reveals a concerted effort led by elite donors, including members of the Rockefeller family and billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, to promote an environmental agenda aimed at curbing fossil fuel projects.
For years, the Rockefellers and other affluent donors have funneled millions into environmental groups actively campaigning against LNG terminals and other fossil fuel initiatives, particularly those planned along the Gulf Coast. This network of green activists has lobbied tirelessly, applying pressure on the White House and federal officials across various venues, from Washington and Houston to the international climate summit in Dubai. Their relentless advocacy appears to have borne fruit, with the Biden administration’s recent decision effectively freezing the LNG approval process.
Critics of the pause argue that it not only undermines the nation’s energy independence but also jeopardizes economic growth and job creation in the sector. The decision has also sparked a political backlash, with House Republicans convening a hearing to scrutinize the move and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) vowing to investigate the administration’s rationale behind this significant policy shift.
The role of high-profile donors in influencing this outcome should not be understated. The Rockefeller Family Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and other organizations have strategically invested in grassroots campaigns and community leaders who oppose LNG projects. Their efforts have been aimed at drawing attention to the environmental and societal impacts of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure, despite some environmentalists’ previous ambivalence towards natural gas due to its potential as a transitional fuel.
The campaign against LNG exports is part of a broader push by these donors to align U.S. energy policy with environmental goals, even if it means sidelining the economic and strategic advantages of being a leading LNG exporter. This approach underscores a troubling trend where a select group of wealthy individuals can wield disproportionate influence over public policy, often at odds with broader national interests.
As the debate over LNG exports and the future of U.S. energy policy continues, it is essential to scrutinize the motivations and methods of those driving the conversation. While environmental considerations are undoubtedly important, they must be balanced against the need for energy security and economic growth. The recent decision to pause LNG exports serves as a stark reminder of the complex interplay between environmental advocacy, political influence, and national policy, raising questions about the proper role of private wealth in shaping public outcomes.