U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is accusing the Biden administration of proverbially “declaring war” on Texas with last week’s decision to temporarily pause applications for liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals.

The Texas Republican slammed the decision—which Texas Scorecard reported on last week— during a Friday episode of his “Verdict” podcast with co-host Ben Ferguson.

What President “Joe Biden did is effectively sanction the state of Texas,” Cruz contended. “This is declaring war on Texas.”

A fact sheet issued January 26 by the White House cited outdated LNG guidelines and concerns with greenhouse gas emissions as motivating the temporary suspension hitting all countries not under a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the U.S.

The countries with FTAs are Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, South Korea, Morocco, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Canada, and Mexico.

Within the U.S., the administration’s move most disproportionately affects Texas’ economy.

The federal Energy Information Administration estimated in 2022 that Texas accounted for 42 percent of the nation’s crude oil production and 27 percent of its marketed natural gas production.

Cruz pointed out the proximity of the suspicious order to the federal government’s ongoing feud with Texas over concertina wire put up along the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass’ Shelby Park.

State officials had taken over the area in early January, but a Supreme Court ruling allowed federal officials to remove the wire if they chose to. Thus far, no wire has been removed, and Texas has put up more.

Biden “did it because he’s pissed off that Texas is standing up to the Biden administration on the border. It is fighting to secure the border,” Cruz laid out. “He said, ‘Alright, if you’re going to stand up and fight us, we’re going to attack you and try to destroy jobs in the state of Texas.’ This was very deliberate—a sanction on the great state of Texas.”

Cruz also characterized the administration’s decision as “a fine on American families” and “a subsidy” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This announcement is Joe Biden saying, ‘I am going to give billions of dollars to Putin and Russia,’” Cruz continued, explaining that American allies in Europe and Asia rely on liquified natural gas, which Russia will supply more of if the U.S. stops.

Earlier in the week, Mark P. Mills, distinguished senior fellow for energy policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, agreed with some Texas officials that the LNG move was primarily a political decision.

Like Cruz, Mills stressed its adverse effects on U.S. foreign policy, including strengthening Putin’s economic stranglehold over some parts of Europe.

“An export ban, even if temporary, shows Europe that America is not a serious or reliable partner,” Mills stated.

Luca Cacciatore

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