Scott, Barrasso Bill Helps NATO Allies Escape Energy Dependence on Russia
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) re-introduced legislation to enhance the energy security of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members by providing an escape from dependence on Russian energy.
The Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe (ESCAPE) Act aims to strengthen our national security and significantly weaken Russia’s ability to coerce our NATO allies by providing them with efficient and reliable American energy. In addition, the legislation mandates sanctions on those who facilitate the development of Russian energy pipelines.
“Unleashing America’s abundant natural resources makes us more energy independent and strengthens our national security,” said Senator Scott. “I’m proud to champion this legislation, which advances our security interests and helps our allies break free from the energy supply of aggressors like Russia.”
“In light of Russia’s year-long invasion of Ukraine, it is more important than ever to provide energy security to our allies in Europe. Putin continues to use Europe’s dependence on Russian energy as a geopolitical weapon to coerce and pressure our allies,” said Senator Barrasso. “The ESCAPE Act takes away Putin’s leverage through expanding American natural gas exports. The United States can help our allies obtain reliable American energy and loosen Putin’s political grip on the region.”
Representative Carol Miller (R-WV-1) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Energy security is national security and focusing on the expansion of American energy exports will prevent NATO’s reliance on unreliable energy from our adversaries,” said Congresswoman Miller. “This legislation reaffirms our commitment to providing more efficient energy to our allies and secure our ability to be energy independent and dominant which will reduce fear and concerns over Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.”
Sens. Scott and Barrasso were joined by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Kennedy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).
As energy prices have risen, Russia continues to undermine peace and security across Europe by wielding its energy exports as a weapon for political coercion. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and months later, cut off all gas supplies to Europe in response to the Western sanctions.
The Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe Act or the ESCAPE Act:
- Directs the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO to work with NATO member states to address energy security for the organization’s members and partners in Europe and Eurasia.
- Calls for a comprehensive U.S. government transatlantic energy strategy that focuses on increasing the energy security of our NATO allies and partners and increasing American energy exports to those countries.
- Requires the Secretary of Energy to expedite approvals of natural gas exports to NATO allies, Japan, and any other foreign country where exports of natural gas would promote the national security interests of the United States.
- Authorizes mandatory U.S. sanctions on the development of Russian energy pipeline projects.
Read full text of the bill here.