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After Biden administration hits pause, permits for LNG operations are affected

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

All right, we're also joined now this morning by Halle Parker. She reports on the environment for WWNO's coastal desk in New Orleans. Halle, so you just listened to our conversation right there. What was your initial reaction to what you heard?

HALLE PARKER, BYLINE: Yeah, you know, I think we heard the climate adviser talk a lot about what Biden has done about climate change so far. And I think that that really shows the Biden administration knows it needs to emphasize that it's serious about addressing climate change. You know, he's talked about how Biden wants to be the climate president, and this decision to pause new natural gas export plants is a big way to do that.

MARTÍNEZ: If this is such a priority for the Biden administration, Halle, why do you think people don't seem to be understanding that or disapprove of the way he handles the climate?

PARKER: Yeah, you know, last year Biden came under a lot of criticism from climate activists because he approved the giant Willow oil project in Alaska. And so I think this move signals to voters who care about Biden's climate promises that they have actually gotten his attention and that he's listening.

MARTÍNEZ: So this is a real move, not a symbolic move, but a actual one that will involve real environmental benefits?

PARKER: Right, yeah. This decision will actually pump the brakes on these enormous facilities that promise to emit millions of tons of planet-warming emissions each year. And, you know, each of these 17 proposed plants that are being delayed would operate on lengthy contracts and prolong the use of fossil fuels. And that's a decision that a lot of climate and energy experts say shouldn't be taken lightly at a time when countries, including the U.S., are trying to lower emissions to limit climate change.

MARTÍNEZ: How is this likely to go over where you are?

PARKER: Yeah, from the business side, there is going to be a lot of resistance to this administration's decision. These plants have been seen as a huge economic boon for parts of Louisiana, but there's going to be other reactions, too. You know, we've been ground zero for this buildout that the gas industry is proposing, us and Texas. And the opposition to adding more has been growing. You know, I was just at a protest last week, and a lot of these plants are proposed in low-income communities that are already heavily industrialized. And the residents I've spoken to are vulnerable to climate change, and they haven't felt protected. So those folks will be thrilled.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. Halle Parker reports on the environment for WWNO's coastal desk in New Orleans. Halle, thanks a lot.

PARKER: Thanks so much for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOMEBODI'S "MICROFOWL") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
Halle Parker