Chart: How do voters feel about US LNG exports?

There’s been a lot said about U.S. LNG exports recently, but a poll by Data for Progress shows how the general public actually feels about the issue.
By Maria Virginia Olano

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A LNG export terminal is seen across a body of water. In the foreground is a small tree. Graphic says CHART OF THE WEEK.
(François Picard/AFP/Getty Images/Canary Media)

Canary Media’s chart of the week translates crucial data about the clean energy transition into a visual format.

Last month, the Biden administration announced it would pause the approval of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, citing the need to update its criteria to reflect the environmental effects and other impacts of proposed projects. Environmental activists hailed the unprecedented move as a major win.

The decision has proven controversial, of course. Republican politicians have lambasted it, while congressional Democrats are split. But how does the public feel about the issue?

According to a poll conducted in November of last year — more than two months before Biden’s decision — most likely voters supported a pause, across all party affiliations.

The poll, conducted by Data for Progress, found that 62% of likely voters supported pausing approvals for new LNG export facilities, while 28% opposed it. Democrats were more likely to favor a pause — 76% said they would support one — but 52% of Republicans agreed.

In response to another question, the poll also found that 60% of likely voters support taking measures to limit the amount of natural gas America exports to other countries.”

Local opposition to LNG export facilities has been mounting for years, particularly in the Gulf Coast, with activists and community leaders opposing both existing export terminals and plans to build numerous new ones, pointing to air pollution as well as explosion risks. Last fall, the issue gained national prominence when climate activists launched a campaign to halt the approval of new LNG export infrastructure, expressing concerns over increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Biden’s pause only affects proposed projects that have not yet received approval from the Department of Energy to export LNG. Eight LNG export terminals are already operating in the U.S., seven more are under construction, and another 10 have already been approved, and none of those are affected by Biden’s recent move. When those new facilities are completed, the U.S. will have a much larger capacity for LNG exports than it does today — regardless of the pause.

Maria Virginia Olano is editorial producer at Canary Media.