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DAVID BLACKMON: Will An Election Year Finally Make The Biden Admin Get Serious About Natural Gas?

2024 is an election year in the United States, and partisan politics always tend to influence the energy sector during election years. This year is no exception, as evidenced by recent events.

In January, the White House “suspended” permits for a proposed new liquefied natural gas export facility. Like the unceremonious cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, this move by President Joe Biden was a nuisance to his party's donors in the climate alarm movement. (Related: David Blackmon: The scary news about electric cars keeps coming)

The White House insists that this “pause” will likely be conveniently lifted after Election Day, but the billionaires funding the climate lobby will It is certain that the government will insist on making this suspension permanent in the coming term.

In February, Biden Announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The company has excluded existing natural gas power plants from its proposed carbon regulations, which are expected to be finalized in April, disappointing some of the same climate alarm groups it delighted in January.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan his agent said “We are taking a new comprehensive approach to not only cover the entire fleet of natural gas-fired turbines, but also more pollutants, including climate, toxics and air pollution standards.” These include: could all be true.

But the move was certainly driven, at least in part, by pressure from leading Democrats in natural gas-producing states, like Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who happens to be up for re-election this year. be. The leading Democratic critic of EPA regulatory action is West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Although Manchin is not seeking re-election, he will remain chairman of the powerful Senate Energy Committee until the end of this year.

This decision by the EPA to exempt existing natural gas plants is a rare departure from this administration, which has focused its regulatory efforts on marginalizing this valuable tool for U.S. energy security and emissions reduction. It also seems to be a recognition of reality.in Recent analysis part Focusing on energy security, S&P Global Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin, author of The New Map, says that America's “emissions from electricity generation in 2022 fell by one-third from 2010, but in the same period The economy has grown by almost 30%.” The third. The number one reason for CO reduction2 Natural gas replaces coal in power generation. ”

No other country on earth has come close to achieving such deep emissions reductions. But the Biden administration often seems intent on killing the energy goose that laid these golden eggs.

Regarding energy security, Yergin cited California's power grid as a prime example of the critical role of natural gas, noting that “wind and solar provide about 25% of California's electricity.” But the state relies on natural gas-fired power generation, nearly 50% of the total, to keep the system balanced. ”

Texas provides another clear example of this energy security paradigm.Texas far away lead Wind power generation capacity in all U.S. states and sports nationwide Fastest growing solar power sector.

However, as in California, natural gas remains the primary source of electricity generation, accounting for nearly 45% of total electricity generation in 2023, and at a much higher rate during peak periods of extreme heat or cold.

The dual role of U.S. natural gas in energy security and emissions reduction is also important for other countries around the world. We all know that US LNG plays a major role in ensuring the energy security of Germany and other European countries following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Yergin also pointed to the example in which the Indian government announced in February that it would invest $67 billion to expand the country's natural gas distribution system. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India plans to increase natural gas power generation from 6% to 15% of the country's electricity mix by 2045.

U.S. LNG can play a key role in enabling that transition.

In election years, there is always pressure on those seeking re-election to act irrationally on energy policy. However, the important role that natural gas plays in achieving both energy security and domestic and international emissions reductions requires a balanced approach.

We hope that the EPA's move to exempt existing natural gas plants from carbon regulations is a sign of a better balance to come.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent his 40 years in the oil and gas business, specializing in public policy and communications.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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