Today, Congressional Energy Export Caucus Co-Chair Representative Carol Miller (R-WV) joined with her fellow caucus co-chair Representative Jodey Arrington (R-TX) and Representative David McKinley (R-WV) to reintroduce the Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe (ESCAPE) Act in the House of Representatives. The legislation will advance American energy exports to the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, and reduce their reliance on Russian energy. Additionally, it mandates sanctions on Russian pipelines, including Nord Stream 2, which were signed into law in the National Defense Authorization Act, but have not been enforced by President Biden.
The companion legislation was reintroduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) in the United States Senate. During the 116th Congress, it passed in Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 17, 2019.
"Energy security is national security, and expanding American energy exports will create a safer Europe by removing Vladimir Putin's heavy hand off our allies' energy grids," said Rep. Miller. "American energy is cleaner and more efficient than Russian natural gas, and this legislation reaffirms our commitment to American energy dominance."
"Russia continues to use its energy resources to intimidate and influence our allies," said Senator Barrasso. "The ESCAPE Act will take away this geopolitical weapon by sanctioning the Nord Stream II pipeline and expanding American natural gas exports. In the United States, especially in Wyoming, we're blessed with an abundance of natural gas. Helping our allies quickly obtain American energy resources loosens Putin's economic and political grip on the region."
"Europe is giving Putin's authoritarian regime the keys to their future security by increasing European reliance on Russian natural gas," said Rep. Arrington. "American natural gas exports would not only be a better and more reliable source of energy for Europe, but it would also be a safer one. I am proud to join Rep. Carol Miller in co-leading legislation that would promote national security interests of the United States by imposing sanctions on Russian pipelines, expediting the approval of U.S. natural gas exports to allies, and encouraging NATO member states to work together to achieve energy security for Europe and Eurasia."
"Russia poses a threat to our national security if they secure a natural gas pipeline across Europe," said Rep. McKinley. "America should lead in the energy sector by exporting liquefied natural gas from West Virginia and other areas of the U.S. to help our allies in Europe and reduce their dependence on Russian gas."
Representative Miller, co-chair of the Congressional Energy Export Caucus, recently led 49 of her colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel advocating for increased energy cooperation between the United States, Germany, and all European allies. Signed by fellow Congressional Energy Export Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Lou Correa (D-CA), the letter also cautions against European reliance on Russian energy.
The ESCAPE Act calls for a comprehensive U.S. government transatlantic energy strategy that increases American exports and focuses on securing energy independence for our NATO allies by utilizing an American energy supply. It additionally requires the Secretary of Energy to expedite natural gas export approvals to all NATO allies, Japan, and any other country whose national security is of utmost importance. The U.S. permanent representative to NATO will be directed to encourage states to work towards the common goal of achieving energy security for all members and partners in Europe and Eurasia.
Currently, American allies in Europe are dependent on natural gas from Russia. Europe imports about 40% of all consumed energy, with one third of that coming from Russia's state-owned energy company, Gazprom. In 2009, Russia cut off gas deliveries to Ukraine for 13 days due to outstanding debt obligations. This led to devastating impacts in Southern and Eastern European countries, where most of their energy flows through Ukraine from Russia. The ESCAPE Act will reduce fears and concerns over Europe's dependence on Russian energy.
American natural gas production has also grown substantially since 2018, and is now equipped to provide significant amounts of energy to Europe and the rest of the world. The U.S. also produces much cleaner natural gas than Russia. If American energy were to replace Russian energy in the European Union, global greenhouse gas emissions would fall by 72 million metric tons each year.