Attorney General Ken Paxton obtained a temporary injunction in his lawsuit against the Biden administration over their decision to halt liquefied natural gas exports.

Joined by 15 other state attorneys general, Paxton secured the win Monday after a federal district court judge in Western Louisiana ruled that the new administrative plan should be paused as the case proceeds.

“This ruling means [President Joe] Biden’s illegal ban does not prevent Texas natural gas from reaching market while the lawsuit continues,” stated Paxton in a Tuesday press release.

“While I continue fighting for Texans against the Biden Administration, producers can take their natural gas to market instead of flaring it,” he continued. “This will protect Texas jobs and keep our critical energy industry running.”

The Biden administration first announced their decision to temporarily pause new applications for LNG exports—excluding countries with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement—on January 26.

Federal officials justified the decision as a procedural move, arguing that they were merely updating the Department of Energy’s existing standards on economic and environmental analyses used to review LNG export applications.

However, several Texas officials interpreted the pause as a hostile affront to their state.

Among those seeing this as a hostile affront were U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, and Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian.

What “Joe Biden did is effectively sanction the state of Texas,” contended Cruz during an episode of his “Verdict” podcast in February. “This is declaring war on Texas.”

One month later, Paxton announced that he would lead a coalition of states in a lawsuit against the administration over the move, which he argued disregards statutory mandates, disrupts the normal regulatory process, and hurts state economics.

Monday’s decision appeared to validate some of Paxton’s concerns. Judge James D. Cain Jr. specifically took issue with the administration’s framing of the LNG pause as a mere “update” to existing code and not a new order.

“It is remarkable to this Court that Defendants now argue that this matter should be appealed to the court of appeals because the NGA [Natural Gas Act] requires that an ‘Order’ be appealed to the court of appeals when they expressly stated and found that the ‘Update’ was not an Order,” wrote Cain.

Most importantly, Cain found that the administration’s primary claim—that it needed to pause approvals to review the permitting process—was not sufficiently justified.

The judge also agreed with Paxton that officials did not take seriously the potential “impact on national security, state revenues, employment opportunities, funding for schools and charities, and pollution allegedly caused by increased reliance on foreign energy sources.”

Paxton and the coalition of states seek a permanent injunction on the administrative actions and financial relief for affected states.

In addition to Texas, other states suing the administration include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.