Alaska public records request seeks role of Hochstein protege in $38.7 billion LNG boondoggleFossil-friendly lobby firm employs former Chief of Staff of Biden Energy Advisor
WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth has filed an open records request of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC), the state entity developing the Alaska LNG Project–a proposed $38.7 billion LNG project with a potential carbon footprint of 2.7 billion metric tons of CO2, ten times the climate pollution of the recently approved Willow Project.
The request targets communications between AGDC staff and their lobbyists at Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck–including Samantha Carl-Yoder, the former Chief of Staff to Amos Hochstein, the Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security.
Carl-Yoder served as Hochstein’s Chief of Staff at the State Department during the Obama Administration between 2015 and 2017. After Hochstein joined LNG developer Tellurian at the start of the Trump years, Carl-Yoder followed him in June 2018, serving as the company’s Director of Marketing and International Affairs until she joined Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck in February 2021. In addition to the AGDC, her oil and gas clients include the American Petroleum Institute and Freeport LNG, which only recently resumed operations after a massive explosion took the facility offline.
Disclosure filings show that over the last year, Carl-Yoder has lobbied the State Department, the Department of Energy and the National Security Council concerning the Alaska LNG Project. In October, US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel hosted the so-called Alaska LNG Summit in Tokyo, intending to generate commercial interest for the $38.7 billion project. The event was attended by senior State Department staff, including Amos Hochstein.
The AGDC also indicated in its March board meeting that it expects Japan to use the coming G7 Summit in Hiroshima to “request international support for new LNG capacity.” A coalition of oil and gas trade associations, including the American Petroleum Institute, wrote to Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, calling for an LNG focus at the Summit in May.
The Department of Energy under the Trump Administration originally granted Alaska LNG a key permit in 2020, allowing the facility to export LNG to countries without free trade agreements with the US. Thanks to efforts led by the Sierra Club, the Department of Energy agreed to revisit its original environmental review to more closely scrutinize the lifecycle climate impacts of the project. A final Record of Decision is expected by April 20th.
“Hopefully the Biden Administration isn’t about to greenlight another carbon bomb,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “A story about two former fossil fuel executives shaping climate policy seems like something out of the Trump Administration.”
The Alaska LNG Project is already angling for significant federal subsidies. A provision snuck into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) makes the project potentially eligible for a $25.6 billion loan guarantee. The project was also “provided official correspondence” that it will receive a Letter of Interest from the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM), the export credit agency of the US. Thanks to its new Make More in America Initiative, passed in 2022 and widely seen as benefiting LNG developers, EXIM can now finance domestic projects like Alaska LNG as well as international ones.