A big dirty SPOT on Biden’s climate record

A few weeks ago, the Biden administration has approved the construction of the Sea Port Oil Terminal, or SPOT, over our very loud objections.

SPOT is poised to be the biggest offshore oil terminal in the U.S, which will increase cancer-causing air pollutants in Texas’ Brazoria and Harris counties and make climate change worse. The Sierra Club estimates that SPOT will produce the same amount of climate-warming pollution as 90 coal-fired power plants.

It’s also just the latest example of Biden ignoring or failing to account for the role of fossil fuel exports in driving the climate crisis. But there is a solution, and Biden might be considering it. If he declares a climate emergency, the President has the power to revoke permits for the export of crude oil. That’s the same thing Biden did with LNG exports earlier this year. So there’s a chance that – even though they gave permits for SPOT to be built – Biden might be willing to pause or halt fossil fuel exports, which would be as good as shutting SPOT down.

Sign the petition urging the Biden administration to stop approving all fossil fuel exports – not just LNG.

As we’ve talked about before, the LNG export pause is a good step, but it’s limited to new LNG export facilities, limited to their permits from DOE (as opposed to FERC or other agencies) and it’s only temporary. The pause is intended to give Biden’s team time to conduct a review of LNG exports and their impact on our climate and communities. And we’ve been campaigning at FERC —the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission— which reviews and issues permits for LNG facilities whether they export or not — all spring to try and get them to implement a similar pause and review on LNG and all fossil fuels

But here’s the thing: Any fair or rational examination of fossil fuel exports, any real “climate test” like President Obama applied when denying the Keystone XL pipeline years ago, will show that we can’t approve any new fossil fuel infrastructure. That’s been the conclusion over and over again of climate scientists, energy researchers, and economists. 

As we’ve been saying since day one of his presidency, Biden can declare a climate emergency at any time – and then use the emergency powers granted to his Administration to permanently stop fossil fuel exports. That’s why we worked with youth leaders from Sunrise Movement and other groups to renew the call for Biden to declare a climate emergency. And news reports say that it’s already working with a chance he could make an announcement soon. 

But we’ve heard this rhetoric before, and we need Biden to do more than talk the talk. Sign the petition urging President Biden to stop approving all fossil fuel exports.