Joe Biden just did the rarest thing in US politics: he stood up to the oil industry
(The Guardian, 7 Feb 2024) The Biden administration suspended new permits for natural gas terminals. Can we see more of this kind of backbone?
Ten days ago Joe Biden did something remarkable, and almost without precedent – he actually said no to big oil.
His administration halted the granting of new permits for building liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, something Washington had been handing out like M&Ms on Halloween for nearly a decade. It’s a provisional “no” – Department of Energy experts will spend the coming months figuring out a new formula for granting the licenses that takes the latest science and economics into account – but you can tell what a big deal it is because of the howls of rage coming from the petroleum industry and its gaggle of politicians.
And you can tell something else too: just how threadbare their arguments have become over time. Biden has called their bluff, and it’s beautiful to watch.
To give you an idea, politicians beholden to the industry are using this week and next to hold hearings about natural gas in Congress. Joe Manchin – who has received more lobbying money from big oil than anyone else in Congress, and is the founder of a coal brokerage business – is convening a session in the Senate on Thursday, but on Tuesday the House began the action with a hearing before a subcommittee of the House committee on energy and commerce.