Sunday, May 26, 2024

Op-Ed: Biden’s LNG pause threatens Louisiana economy and jobs

by BIZ Magazine
biden signing orders in oval office

By Rachel Jeandron Caluda | Pelican Institute for Public Policy

Louisiana’s lawmakers are working tirelessly to write our comeback story and revive our economy. Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s January decision to hit pause on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects has been a major setback for our state’s economy and job market.

The administration claims the pause would allow the government to take a step back and have a “hard look” at the impact of LNG on our economy and environment. But Louisiana families know the impact of a robust energy economy: good jobs, secure livelihoods, and resources that allow for effective stewardship of our natural resources.

The U.S. became the world’s leading LNG exporter in 2023. Louisiana, home to two of the nation’s top five export terminals (in Sabine and Hackberry), played a major role in this success story. Strategically situated in the Gulf of Mexico with the mouth of the Mississippi River at our doorstep, Louisiana is poised to be a booming export hub to the rest of the world. Additionally, the Department of Energy has given the green light to a number of crucial LNG projects in Louisiana, including projects in Calcasieu Parish and Plaquemines Parish, which could further fuel our economy. So the Biden administration’s pause couldn’t have come at a worse time. With industry surging, this move deals a heavy blow to Louisiana’s energy sector, one of the few sectors outpacing the rest of the South.

The fallout from this disastrous decision was immediately felt here in Louisiana. Right after the announcement, the Biden administration announced it was delaying its decision on Venture Global’s pending Calcasieu Pass 2 project – a project that would make Venture Global one of the largest LNG companies in the world.

The ripple effect on Louisiana’s workers and families will be devastating. In 2019, the oil and gas industry supported 249,800 jobs and pumped $73 billion into our state economy. With one in nine Louisiana jobs tied to oil and gas, and nearly 15% of state revenue coming from the industry, the stakes couldn’t be higher. As Mike Moncla, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, pointed out, “[investors are] looking for return on investment in a certain amount of time, so anytime there is a pause, they’re going to lose their time value of money, then they’re going to put it somewhere else.”

All of this comes at a time when Louisiana is one of only eight states with fewer people employed than pre-COVID, and our state has shown job losses in eight of the last 11 months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recently released Louisiana’s labor market data for February. LNG has been an economic boost to Louisiana, and the Biden administration’s pause threatens to drive more jobs and opportunities out of our state. While the supposed benefits of the export pause are murky, at best, this much is clear: Louisianans cannot afford the Biden administration’s policy.

You may also like

-
00:00
00:00
Update Required Flash plugin
-
00:00
00:00