Environmental concerns grow over impact of liquefied natural gas as U.S. is world's top supplier

The United States has emerged as the world’s largest exporter of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) due to a significant increase in production over the past six years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, environmentalists express concern that this surge in LNG exports goes against the Biden administration’s goal of phasing out fossil fuels to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

LNG is natural gas that has been supercooled into a liquid for overseas shipping. Although natural gas is considered cleaner than coal, it still produces carbon dioxide and methane emissions, which are significant contributors to global warming.

In Louisiana, a mile away from a liquefied natural gas export terminal named Calcasieu Pass, John Allaire, a former oil industry engineer, documents the practice of “flaring,” where excess gas is burned off. Allaire is concerned about the potentially toxic air and the exportation of natural resources to Europe and Asia, believing it is more about generating profit than environmental responsibility.

The Calcasieu Pass plant is owned by Venture Global. While the company declined an interview request, it stated that it has made progress in minimizing flaring and emphasized the need for more energy, specifically natural gas, to meet the world’s demands. The plant is one of eight operating LNG export terminals in the U.S., with seven more under construction. U.S. capacity has more than tripled since 2018 and is projected to double again by 2030.

Critics label the new LNG plants “carbon bombs,” and climate activists question the need for continued approval of these exports. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm earlier expressed concerns about the impact on the environment, rising domestic natural gas prices, and America’s energy security. However, some state attorneys general, like Louisiana’s Liz Murrill, argue that the Biden administration’s pause on new LNG exports lacks legal justification.

Allaire also opposes another LNG plant proposed to be built near his property, stating that companies should prioritize more than just profits when it comes to natural resources. He advocates for conservation of resources for the benefit of future generations.

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