When the U.S. House voted 224-200 in favor of a bill overturning the Biden administration’s ‘temporary pause’ of new liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminals, nine Democrats crossed party lines to join the GOP majority. But despite the importance of natural gas to Pennsylvania’s economy, none of the bipartisan votes came from Delaware Valley Democrats.

Reps. Madelaine Dean, Chrissy Houlahan, and Mary Gay Scanlon — along with the LeHigh Valley’s Rep. Susan Wild — voted against the Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act on Thursday.

Bucks County Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick voted in favor of it.

The bill gives “exclusive authority” to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on all LNG terminals. Authority currently rests with the Department of Energy. The bill would declare natural gas exports and imports are “consistent with the public interest.”

Energy organizations, including the Marcellus Shale Coalition, lobbied the House in favor of the LNG legislation. They sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, arguing that “America needs to have a predictable permitting process that encourages critical investments in energy infrastructure.” The groups believe the bill will ensure other countries can rely on American LNG as a “reliable source of energy.”

Some supporters of U.S. fossil fuel energy production were even more adamant.

“President Biden has turned his Department of Energy into an obstructionist mechanism to undermine American energy production,” said Craig Stevens, spokesman for the Grow America’s Infrastructure Now Coalition and former senior advisor to Energy Secretary Sam Bodman. “The bipartisan vote to pass the Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act is a clear signal to President Biden that his decision to pause permits for LNG export projects is a bad policy that will further enrich hostile foreign nations.”

And American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle called Biden’s shutdown of LNG exports “yet another attack on American consumers and the energy security of our allies. We applaud this effort to reverse one of the administration’s growing list of more than 175 wrongheaded decisions and unlock the energy potential of the U.S. energy industry.”

The Biden administration criticized the bill as unnecessary and counterproductive. A Statement of Administration Policy argued moving authority to FERC would “strip back important safeguards that prevent price pressure” on consumers. The administration added that energy security protections would also be rolled back.

In a statement, Houlahan claimed she has “genuine concerns about the decision to pause future U.S. LNG export projects,” but she voted against the bill anyway. She blamed the failure of her amendment to block future LNG exports to a handful of unfriendly countries like China, Russia, and North Korea. “I was extremely disappointed to see the Republican-controlled Rules Committee vote against my straightforward, bipartisan amendment that keeps U.S. energy out of the hands of those who wish to harm us.”

Critics say it was an unserious amendment, far outweighed in importance by the economic interests of the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania’s economy benefits greatly from natural gas production. The Keystone State is second in the nation in natural gas with an output of 7.5 trillion cubic feet in 2022, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration statistics.

“The vote makes clear that legislators on both sides of the aisle understand the importance of LNG,” said Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. “This isn’t about politics. This is about protecting our economy, maintaining our energy independence, and enhancing global security, especially where our allies are more reliant on energy supplies from our adversaries than us, making the world less secure. American LNG can change the equation.”

A recent poll by co/efficient showed two-thirds of Pennsylvania residents support expanded LNG exports to help create energy sector jobs. Knaus said the poll also showed that 87 percent see energy security as vital to national security.

The LNG export terminal pause was announced last month. “We will take a hard look at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security, and our environment,” Biden said at the time. “This pause on new LNG approvals sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time.”

Energy groups said Biden’s order causes unnecessary damage in the future to the U.S. and Pennsylvania economies.

“Thanks to Pennsylvania’s contributions, the United States is now the top natural gas producing nation in the world, but without expanded American export capacity, our overseas allies will be at the mercy of hostile powers like Russia,” Carl A. Marrara, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association told DVJournal. “The Delaware Valley area can and should be a part of strengthening American energy leadership, which will help to curb emissions and stabilize geopolitical pressures – but it won’t happen without cooperation from Washington.”

“Pennsylvania is poised to help address the increasing global demand for affordable, reliable energy by leveraging its abundant supply of natural gas and exporting LNG overseas,” Stephanie Catarino Wissman, Executive Director, American Petroleum Institute Pennsylvania told DVJournal. “Yet, restrictive policies and permitting challenges limit Pennsylvania’s ability to build out the critical energy infrastructure that’s needed in the region to bring natural gas to market and deliver LNG to our allies overseas.”

Dean’s, Scanlon’s, and Wild’s offices did not return a request for comment.