WASHINGTON, D.C. — In comments submitted to the Energy Department today, dozens of national and international advocacy groups highlighted fundamental flaws in a draft federal study that is intended to assess the macroeconomic impacts of expanded liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. The comments were submitted by groups including Food & Water Watch, Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth-US, 350.org,the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for International Environmental Law, and dozens of local community groups fighting gas infrastructure in their areas.
The joint submission criticizes the study for: a failure to consider expanding state-based restrictions on fossil fuel extraction; a failure to consider expanding economic costs of fossil fuel-driven climate chaos; a failure to consider the increasing production and decreasing cost of clean energy sources; and a dismissal of growing international pressure to solve the climate crisis and rein in fossil fuels that will increasingly impact overseas demand for LNG.
The comments focus primarily on a blatant statement of bias made in the study that undermines its credibility. The study authors dismiss the potential impact on LNG demand of the Paris Agreement on climate change, something almost every nation other than the United States is working to implement, with what would appear to be their personal opinion that “future progress will (not) be very much greater than the past”. With this they assign a very low probability (5%) to the possibility of tepid future demand for LNG.
“The draft study is deeply flawed, as the authors chose to ignore both climate science and climate action in favor of what appears to be a political imperative over any objective analysis. In my experience, this would not stand up to peer review in any academic institution,” said Lorne Stockman, Senior Research Analyst with Oil Change International and lead author of the comments. “The authors need to start again using robust methods for assessing the impact of climate policy on future global LNG demand. Anything less is doing a disservice to the taxpayers that paid for the study.”
“While a number of states and most countries are smartly turning away from filthy, antiquated fossil fuels, the Trump administration is senselessly pushing ahead with climate-killing LNG exports. The world will increasingly reject our gas exports in favor of truly clean, renewable power, and as a result the costs of this policy to Americans will skyrocket. Trump makes up his own science, and our country and the world suffers,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, the group that co-authored the joint comment.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to promote and expand LNG exports on all fronts. This week it finalized a rule expediting the approval of “small-scale” LNG exports. The rule applies to LNG shipments destined for countries without free-trade agreements with the United States, which have generally been subject to a higher degree of agency scrutiny.