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Kennedy vows to block Energy, State nominees over Biden LNG pause

Eight State Department nominees, including Kurt Campbell for deputy secretary of State, await floor votes

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said he'll block Energy and State department nominees over the permitting issue.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said he'll block Energy and State department nominees over the permitting issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. John Kennedy said he will block all State and Energy department nominees until the Biden administration resumes issuing permits for natural gas exports.

Last week the Biden administration announced an indefinite pause on new permits while it updates the criteria for approval, including a greater look at the effects these exports have on global emissions and climate change.

In an opinion piece published Monday night in The Wall Street Journal, Kennedy, R-La., said these actions were influenced by the administration’s desire to appease climate activists and that it will ultimately harm the domestic natural gas industry and “kill thousands of good jobs in my state.”

He vowed to block all nominees to the two departments until the administration changes course.

“Like the Terminator, I’ll be back again and again to stop his nominees and remind the world that [Biden is] intentionally killing jobs and threatening our national security to placate confused climate extremists,” Kennedy said.

There are no pending Energy Department nominations in the Senate, although there are unfilled positions, including a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. For the State Department, eight nominees, including Kurt Campbell for deputy secretary of State, are currently awaiting floor votes.

The U.S., which began exporting liquefied natural gas in 2016, quickly became the largest exporter, creating a corresponding demand for more infrastructure. Kennedy pointed to Calcasieu Pass 2, a facility planned in Louisiana that would be the nation’s largest, as a project that could be threatened by this pause.

CP2’s application is still before FERC, which reviews projects before the Energy Department, and is not currently affected by the pause. However, four projects pending before the department are affected.

Rachel Oswald contributed to this report.

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