ANALYSIS: Biden Fires Opening Salvo At Texas Energy Economy Amid Border Battle

Half of U.S. states now support Texas in its standoff against the Biden Administration regarding its right to place razor wire along the U.S./Mexico border — a struggle that has many wondering out loud if a civil war is inevitable or if this is mere election year theatrics.

Either way, Democratic President Joe Biden may have fired the first shot in this brewing battle — his target being Texas’s natural gas economy.

The Biden administration formally announced on Friday it would temporarily pause decisions on new liquified natural gas (or LNG) exports from the United States, citing man-made climate change theory as a reason.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, called the move “reckless” and “a gut punch to the hard-working men and women in the energy industry. It also could cause some countries to rely upon dirty coal as opposed to cleaner burning natural gas.” Two of Texas’s Republican Railroad Commissioners (a trio who regulate energy, not railroads, despite the historic name for the state agency) called today’s announcement a “unilateral hammer” (Chairman Christi Craddick) and a move which “may recklessly endanger European lives, many of whom are facing a harsh winter with less access to life-saving energy” (Wayne Christian).

The Lone Star State, acccording to the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA), is the nation’s No. 1 producer of natural gas and the world’s No. 3 producer if on par with the nations of the world. A White House climate change czar said there was yet “plenty of runway” for natural gas profits, as the war in Ukraine has nations boycotting Russian gas markets and turning to the U.S., resulting in a boom for the industry. A temporary pause, the White House claimed, would give the Department of Energy time to weigh how to regulate this ongoing boom.

A boom, by the way, which has helped Texas navigate out of the so-called Biden Recession. Texas has weathered the worsening ecomomic seas well, having maintained the fastest economic expansion in the nation, Abbott has stated numerous times, with oil and gas as a primary driver.

TXOGA estimates that Texas set new production records in the middle of 2023, with Texas’ natural gas output near 29% of the nation’s total. Along with oil (43%), that uptick in activity has helped to reinvigorate an industry that roars or whimpers, a la the much-famed Barnett Shale activity in the mid-oughties. Jobs in the field, according to TXOGA, are on pace to catch up to a 2014 peak.

As for the U.S. as a whole, America became a natural gas exporter in 2017 — the first time since 1957. Records continue to be shattered.

“Today, we have an evolving understanding of the market need for LNG, the long-term supply of LNG, and the perilous impacts of methane on our planet,” the Biden administration said, pouring water on the red-hot economic driver. “We also must adequately guard against risks to the health of our communities, especially frontline communities in the United States who disproportionately shoulder the burden of pollution from new export facilities.”

Sierra Club butted in, adding that an estimated 12 impacted LNG proposed projects would produce as much pollution as 223 coal plants per year, despite Abbott’s point that natural gas offsets the use of coal. Affected expansions include LNG projects in Texas cities Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville, the Sierra Club noted. It would not affect projects that have already been authorized or are currently exporting.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the Associated Press a decision could take months. This would delay any action until the heart of the U.S. Presidential election, and possibly past it in the form of public commenting processes.


On the eve of the announcement, Biden stated the economy has grown by 3.3%, rebuking “forecasts” of a recession. However conservatives are pointing out we’re already there, not to mention growing inflation, increasing housing costs, and mortage rates raised for the first time since the 2007-08 recession.

FROM THE HIP: This is less about climate change and more about the 2024 election, and Biden’s own press release proves it.

From the tail end of his press release:

“While MAGA Republicans willfully deny the urgency of the climate crisis, condemning the American people to a dangerous future, my Administration will not be complacent. We will not cede to special interests.

“We will heed the calls of young people and frontline communities who are using their voices to demand action from those with the power to act.”

This is a clear call to younger liberal voters, racial minorities, and environmentalists who may be entering 2024 feeling that the practically unopposed presidential incumbent is too soft on leftist priorities. He’s no Bernie Sanders, but in order for Biden to overcome his appearance as an empty shirt placeholder who answers only to special interests, his campaign team must position him as a crusader.

Now back to Texas: was this decision retribution for Gov. Abbott’s intransigence along the border? Not overtly, but if there comes any form of uprising or altercation along the border soon this situation could only add fuel to the fire for incensed Texans.

And if it was truly a Fort Sumter-esque opening shot in an inevitable battle along the Texas border, Biden’s call to “frontline communities” may be a dogwhistle to Hispanic residents there. Reason being: “environmental justice” advocates are feverishly working to build a tie between systemic racism and environmental pollution. Convince border-area residents that Abbott is the polluter-in-chief and they have less reason to defect to the GOP, as many have been doing, or contribute to a larger win for Donald Trump and Republicans down-ballot.

The administration’s move may also signal that Team Biden is not interested in winning elector-rich Texas as a pathway to re-election. How could they win it, now? Team Biden’s only wise political move would be to strengthen the resolve of their existing supporters, of whom Abbott has deftly been peeling away.



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