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The Next Big Climate Fight: CP2 and Liquefied Natural Gas

CP2 is one of many proposed liquefied natural gas export projects that promise distressing levels of climate emissions. Biden can and must stop it.

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by Mia DiFelice

Last year, the Biden administration faced major blowback for approving the Willow drilling project. It was widely decried as a carbon bomb, set off at a time of growing climate chaos. But Willow pales in comparison to CP2, a gas export facility proposed for the coast of Louisiana. CP2, currently awaiting final approvals from the Biden administration, will have 20 times the climate impact of Willow.

Biden has the power to stop CP2 and dozens of other planned export projects. In refusing to do so so far, the administration is choosing corporate profits and climate chaos over the American people. 

CP2 and LNG Poses a Monumental Threat to a Livable Climate

CP2 is part of a gold rush around the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry, which only began recently. After decades of exporting near-zero oil and gas, the U.S. has become the world’s top LNG exporter in a few short years. This growth has been driven and buoyed by a boom in LNG facilities that promise dangerous climate impacts.

The LNG industry cools fracked gas to a liquid form and ships it overseas. This creates a long supply chain that makes LNG at least 24% worse for the climate than coal, even in the best-case scenarios. Moreover, LNG creates new markets for fracked gas and drives the drilling of more wells.

The CP2 facility, running at full volume, would have the same impact as adding 197 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. And if Biden continues approving proposed projects in the Gulf Coast, they would emit an estimated 3.2 billion tons of greenhouse gasses each year.

To make matters worse, companies buy and sell LNG under long-term contracts, and infrastructure will last for decades. CP2’s owner, Global Ventures, has asked the Biden administration for a permit to operate until 2050. LNG threatens to lock us into decades of more pollution and climate-wrecking emissions.

CP2 Threatens the Public Health of Nearby Communities

The LNG boom has already hit the Gulf Coast hard. New export facilities have plagued the region with hazardous air pollution, ruined environments, and constant fears of explosion.

In fact, CP2 is the second Venture Global LNG terminal proposed for Cameron Parish, Louisiana. It will sit beside the first, Calcasieu Pass, which began operating in 2022. But Calcasieu Pass has been rife with malfunctions, including ones that expose its neighbors to dangerous pollution. In just a year, Calcasieu Pass exceeded its air permit limits over 2,000 times.

On top of the air pollution, the concentration of gas facilities puts nearby towns at great risk of catastrophic accidents. Four of the five LNG export terminals on the Gulf Coast have seen a leak or blast. Cracks in pipes and other malfunctions have been disturbingly common.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new for the region. Polluting industries have long set up shop in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, with horrible consequences for their neighbors. Now and historically, Black and low-income communities disproportionately bear the brunt of the impacts.

Biden’s environmental justice policies — including a much-touted executive order — were supposed to protect these communities. His support for LNG severely undermines these goals and clears the way for more harm.

LNG Industry Prizes Profits Over Families

Along with climate, health, and environmental justice impacts, LNG will also hurt families in their wallets. On the local level (besides the high costs of health impacts), CP2 threatens the livelihoods of shrimpers and fishers. That’s because export facilities require dredging, which ruins local waterways and ecosystems.

LNG’s growth also contributes to nationwide inflation and the rising cost of living. While many families have to choose between buying food and medicine or paying their energy bills, growing LNG exports raise home energy costs because they squeeze domestic gas supplies.

Meanwhile, the LNG industry is raking in cash. U.S. LNG exports have doubled in the past four years and are projected to nearly double again in the next four. And as the gas export industry exploded, U.S. LNG companies profited handsomely. Local communities, environments, families nationwide, and our climate are all paying the price.

Biden Can and Must Stop CP2 and All LNG

The case against CP2 and LNG is obvious. Nevertheless, the Biden administration has greenlit every single LNG export project that has come its way. But right now, the administration has a golden opportunity to reverse course.

CP2 is facing its final permitting hurdles with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy. So far, federal processes to evaluate LNG have failed to account for its outsized harms. The Biden administration can change this, deny CP2, and set a powerful precedent for future LNG proposals. 

The science is clear. CP2 and the entire LNG industry will be disastrous for the climate, and for our chances at a livable future for all. Biden must stop this and all LNG projects.

Join our fight for a livable future! Volunteer with Food & Water Action.

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