Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and New Mexico may be among the top natural gas producers in the U.S., but when 25 governors wrote to President Joe Biden urging him to end his “pause” on new LNG exports, Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-Pa.),  Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-La.), and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) weren’t among them.

The governors confronting Biden are all Republicans. They represent states that produce liquified natural gas (LNG), like Texas, and states that rely on natural gas for power generation, like Florida and New Hampshire.

And 16 of the governors lead states that are suing Biden over the LNG export pause. That includes the battleground state of Georgia, which will be key in the November presidential election.

“As governors, we are very concerned by the Biden Administration’s move to pause approvals of new liquified natural gas (LNG) export projects, especially after Iran’s attack on Israel last week,” they wrote. “The U.S. is the world’s leading exporter of LNG, and the decision to pause new approvals undermines our economic and national security, and the security of our allies.

“It creates instability and threatens future energy security throughout the world at a time when our allies need us the most. It sends a message that the U.S. is not a reliable energy partner.”

Biden has made no secret of his goal to roll back U.S. fossil fuel production, shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline and restricting access to federal lands for energy development on his first day as president. However, after Russia invaded Ukraine and Hamas attacked Israel, some observers thought Biden might prioritize aiding America’s allies over his domestic green energy agenda.

Instead, Biden announced his LNG export pause three months after the Oct. 7 terror attack against Israel. At the time, Biden said the U.S. would rally world leaders to move away from fossil fuels because of the threat of climate change.

Russia and its ally Iran have used revenues from energy production to fund their military — and, in Iran’s case, terrorist — attacks on U.S. allies. Supporters of U.S. aid to Ukraine and Israel passed by Congress in the past week say domestic oil and gas production should be part of America’s foreign policy.

According to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, “Tehran has exported over $100 billion of oil since Biden took office. This figure represents a 23 percent increase over the previous year and more than an 82 percent jump in exports from the May 2019-January 2021 period in which President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pursued a ‘maximum pressure’ campaign.”

The LNG market, however, has been different. Russia’s oil revenues have risen since it invaded Ukraine, but its natural gas exports have dwindled by an estimated 42 percent since 2021. Much of that drop has been from pipeline sales to the E.U., which is opposing President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

The good news is that the U.S. remains the world’s largest gas exporter (Russia is number two) and has been able to add to global supply and make up the difference.

In 2023, the United States exported 20.9 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, up 10 percent from a year earlier. LNG exports were up 12 percent.

“American LNG helps advance global energy security while promoting U.S. interests abroad, bolstering our economy and reducing emissions worldwide,” Rob Jennings, American Petroleum Institute Vice President of Natural Gas Markets, told InsideSources.

The problem, says Professor Brenda Shaffer, an energy expert at the US Naval Postgraduate School, is that pausing future exports means customers are now looking for new suppliers, and nations less friendly to the West are preparing to meet demand.

QatarEnergy secured multi-decade deals with European countries last fall. And Algeria’s government-owned Sonatrach announced plans to double its LNG export capacity.

Despite that, the Biden administration still paused LNG exports. It justified the pause by claiming the global energy market needed to be reevaluated to determine whether more American LNG was necessary.

That’s the job of the private sector, “not the job of the American government,” Shaffer told InsideSources. “It is a dangerous precedent for the federal government to begin deciding what the U.S. manufactures and exports based on the government’s view of the market.”

Biden has faced pushback from Democrat allies. Shapiro publicly prodded the Biden administration to end the LNG export moratorium sooner rather than later, as did the Keystone State’s two Democrat senators. Bel Edwards told U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm that the pause was a bad idea.

And Jennings says supporting the nation’s domestic energy production isn’t a Republican issue.

“There is bipartisan recognition that the Biden administration should end its pause on LNG export permits so that we can resume American energy leadership.”