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Energy workers advocacy group urges House panel to investigate John Podesta

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(The Center Square) – A non-profit organization that advocates for American energy workers is urging the House Energy and Commerce Committee to investigate the role of climate envoy John Podesta in President Joe Biden’s recent decision to pause U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

“When Joe Biden attacks American energy, foreign producers reap the financial benefits, and now it looks like his friends and staff could be getting a cut, too,” Larry Behrens, communications director for Power The Future, said in a news release.

Podesta played a major role in the Biden administration’s decision to pause LNG exports to non-free trade agreement countries, the Washington Free Beacon reported. His brother, Tony Podesta, stands to benefit financially from the decision as a lobbyist for foreign companies involved in the natural gas industry, including one investment group with ties to Russia, according to the report.

John Podesta replaced special climate envoy John Kerry, taking on the title of senior advisor to the president for international climate policy at the White House.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., sent a letter to Biden saying the appointment of John Podesta is unlawful without Senate confirmation under the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2022, according to the Hill.

Behrens said the American people deserve answers about Podesta’s appointment and his role in the LNG export decision.

“Since he took office, Joe Biden has allowed this secret climate office to have maximum influence over American energy policy while ensuring it has minimal accountability,” Behrens told The Center Square. “We don’t get to know who is peddling influence with this office or even the names of who is employed within it. The American people are subjected to the decisions made by this office, and the Biden administration is doing everything they can to keep its work top secret.”

The Biden administration announced the freeze on exports in January, saying the current economic and environmental analyses used by the Department of Energy for export authorizations fail to account for factors like potential energy cost increases for Americans and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a White House press release.

“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 press release said. “The pause, which is subject to exception for unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies, will provide the time to integrate these critical considerations.”

Fact checks by The Center Square of the Biden administration’s stated reasons for the pause – the potential for energy cost increases for American consumers, and “the perilous impacts of methane on our planet” – showed that the federal government’s own data refuted those claims.

The move has faced bipartisan opposition in the U.S. House and Senate and at the state level.

In a hearing held by the Senate Natural Resources Committee in February, experts cited economic and national security concerns and said foreign energy rivals Russia and Qatar will benefit from a lack of U.S. natural gas exports.

A group of two dozen state attorneys general sent a letter to Biden, calling the decision unlawful. About 150 House Republicans also criticized the decision in a letter to the president, and some House Democrats voiced opposition as well.

Power the Future says the White House has not yet responded to the questions about John Podesta’s role in the LNG export decision.

“For years, Joe Biden has blamed record gas prices and skyrocketing inflation on Putin, but it’s decisions like these from the White House that truly enrich foreign producers,” Behrens said. “House Republicans in the Energy and Commerce Committee would be wise to immediately investigate Podesta’s role in the sordid scheme because the American families footing the bill deserve answers. If you’re concerned about ‘10-percent for the big guy,’ you should be equally alarmed by these shenanigans.’”

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