WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Subcommittee, on Thursday applauded the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee for passing their European Energy Security and Diversification Act. The legislation provides new tools for the United States to combat malign Russian influence and create economic opportunities at home and abroad. Russia uses its dominance of the energy market, along with bribery, corruption, and propaganda, to undermine Western institutions and install pliant governments that are unable or unwilling to counter Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin.
The European Energy Security and Diversification Act will authorize financing to catalyze U.S. public and private sector investment for European energy projects that, paired with increased diplomatic and technical support, will help diversify Europe’s energy supply and decrease Russia’s hold on the region. U.S. Representatives Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) and Bill Keating (MA-9) introduced the House version.
“Today we’re a step closer to holding the Kremlin accountable for corruption and coercion in Eastern Europe. Eastern European countries continue to rely on Russian energy and oil, but our legislation will help change that. It will spur private and public investments to help our allies generate independent sources of energy. This is exactly the type of proactive anti-corruption work we should be doing to combat petro-dictators like Putin. I’m proud to work with Senator Johnson, Representative Kinzinger, and Representative Keating to move this legislation forward,” said Murphy.
“Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not afraid to use its vast energy reserves as a bludgeon to get other countries do to its bidding. I’m pleased that the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance our legislation today to help promote increased energy security and supply diversification in Europe,” said Johnson.
The European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019 would:
- Authorize financing to catalyze U.S. public and private sector investment in strategically important energy projects in eligible countries from fiscal year 2019 to 2023, including:
- Natural gas infrastructure such as interconnectors, storage facilities, LNG import facilities, and reverse flow capacity.
- Electricity infrastructure, including transmission infrastructure, storage projects, and smart grids.
- Authorize $5 million per year in appropriations for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for project feasibility studies, reverse trade missions, pilot projects, and technical workshops to support projects in the earlier stages of development.
- Encourage the State Department to ramp up its political and diplomatic support to eligible countries such as by facilitating negotiations for cross-border energy infrastructure and assisting eligible countries improve their energy markets and regulatory environments.