Exporting Gas Hurts Communities, Consumers, and the Climate

The Gulf Coast is at the epicenter of the fossil fuel industry's push to increase gas exports across the globe. Exporting gas harms surrounding communities and exacerbates environmental injustices. Exporting gas also drives up domestic prices of gas and electricity, because U.S. gas prices are now tied to substantially more costly and volatile international markets. Gas and the rapid expansion of gas exports (also called LNG) is a massive source of climate pollution, including carbon and methane emissions. Gas is marketed as a better alternative to coal, but after accounting for processing, liquifying, shipping, and methane leakage, the life cycle emissions footprint of exporting gas rivals coal.

Gas Exports Hurt Frontline Communities

Gas export facilities perpetuate environmental injustice and inequities. Many export projects are located near communities like Port Arthur, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana that were already some of the most overburdened with toxic air pollution.

Communities of color and those with low household incomes make-up about 38 percent of the people living within three miles of proposed gas export facilities. For these frontline communities, public health is undermined by air pollution from gas processing, including particulate pollution, pollutants such as benzene and mercury compounds, volatile organic compounds, ammonia, sulfuric acid, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides. For example, a gas export terminal in Corpus Christi routinely exceeds its permitted limits for air pollutants like soot and volatile organic compounds, and it became a leading contributor to the region's air quality emissions jumping 83% in recent years.

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Image of a gas range burner with a graphic ovelay that reads high gas prices

Exporting Gas Drives Up Domestic Gas and Electricity Prices

As the U.S. has quickly risen to become the world’s top gas exporter, it also had the effect of linking domestic gas prices with the global gas market — where gas typically is many times more expensive. Russia’s war against Ukraine created gas and geopolitical insecurity across the globe, with European gas prices hitting record highs.

As a result, U.S. consumers are now exposed to uncertainties of the international gas market, including higher prices and price spikes. The price of gas in the U.S. is now at its highest point since 2008, hitting domestic manufacturers and slamming homes and businesses through an estimated 40% increase in Americans’ monthly utility bills. While fossil fuel companies are generating huge profits off gas exports, rising energy bills increase the energy burden for families and exacerbate inequality.

Exporting Gas Exacerbates Climate Change

Currently in the U.S. there are 20 gas terminal expansions or new terminals in various stages of planning, approval and financing.

According to the International Energy Agency, most of those projects cannot be built if the world is going to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Other recent analyses from Environmental Integrity Project, Natural Resources Defense Council and Global Energy Monitor similarly detail how the continued expansion of gas exports from the United States would be incompatible with the Paris Climate Agreement, jeopardizing U.S. climate goals while simultaneously derailing them for the rest of the world.

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Exporting U.S. Gas Blocks the Development of Renewable Energy

Exporting more U.S. gas slows and even blocks the deployment of cost-competitive renewable energy in other countries.

Nations like Pakistan and Bangladesh are already suffering power shortages because of their exposure to the highly volatile global gas market, and continued gas expansion risks further saddling developing economies with new fossil-fuel infrastructure that would be quickly stranded if global warming is to be limited to 1.5°C. And since renewable energy and battery storage pricing has dropped precipitously in recent years, wind and solar can already or will soon outcompete gas in many global markets.