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U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas are surging under President Biden, eclipsing prior records and poised to climb higher still.

Even as the administration pledges to tackle climate change in part by distancing the United States from fossil fuels, the country’s LNG exports expanded to a new high this March, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

The uptick highlights a challenge for Biden, who is facing pressure from his party’s left flank and environmental groups for a hard pivot from fossil fuels, even as gas supporters say the fuel would help cut global emissions by shifting countries away from coal.

Industry representatives worry that mixed messages or lukewarm support at the federal level for LNG could lead overseas buyers to question the United States’ commitment and turn elsewhere for energy imports.

The Biden administration could do a better job of defining how LNG fits into its climate policy goals, said Anna Mikulska, a nonresident fellow in energy studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

The administration is still “quite unclear or vague” on that score, Mikulska said. At times, comments from senior officials like Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and U.S. climate envoy John Kerry have appeared to conflict with each other, she said.

Kerry set off alarms within the industry in January when he warned in a speech to the World Economic Forum that if the globe continues to build infrastructure for gas, “we’re going to be stuck with stranded assets in 10 or 20 or 30 years.”

[Carlos Anchondo, Lesley Clark and Miranda Wilson]

More: Surging U.S. LNG puts Biden in climate bind

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