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Comment Letter Calling for Rescission of DOE Categorical Exclusion Rule for LNG Exports

In response to the Department of Energy’s recent request for information on its categorical exclusions, we submitted a comment letter recommending that the Department rescind its 2020 regulation establishing categorical exclusion B5.7 for discretionary authorizations to export liquefied natural gas. As our comment letter explains, long-term expansion of export capacity may lock in fossil-fuel usage over the long term and thereby impede global decarbonization efforts. Yet when promulgating its categorical exclusion rule, the Department erroneously argued that indirect climate effects are not relevant to its assessment of applications for export authorization, and based its sweeping categorical exclusion on that improper legal conclusion. Our comment letter provides a proper understanding of the Department’s broad authority, which compels the agency to robustly consider impacts on climate change as part of its authorization process.