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Lawmakers issue bipartisan call for ban on Russian energy imports

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The United States imported an average of more than 20.4 million barrels of crude and refined products per month from Russia in 2021.

Legislation introduced in both houses of Congress would direct President Biden to prohibit new imports of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, LNG and coal from Russia.

The Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would declare a national emergency specifically with respect to the threat to our national security, foreign policy, and economy that exists as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The legislation has broad support across the political spectrum.

“Since Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has pulled together an impressive international coalition to impose swift and severe sanctions on Russia. While these measures have already put intense pressure on Russia’s economy, it’s clear more must be done to punish Putin for the tragedies occurring in Ukraine. As Putin continues his vicious assault on the citizens of Ukraine, we should not continue to support Russia’s energy economy by importing these commodities,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said.

“An immediate ban on Russian energy imports will help ensure we aren’t contributing in any way to financing Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said. “I’ll continue to work alongside my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see this through, and explore other ways to restrict Russia’s economy.”

“While recent sanctions from the United States and our partners have substantially crippled the Ruble, targeting Russia’s energy sector would be one of the most effective ways to crater Russia’s petrostate economy. In doing so, our bipartisan bill would help make clear our unrelenting support for the Ukrainian people. In the days ahead, I hope we can bring this legislation to the floor for a vote, while also taking concrete steps to prevent additional price impacts on consumers here at home — including making sure we are reducing barriers for increased domestic energy production,” Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) said.

“A ban on Russian oil imports is an important measure to cut off funding for Russian military aggression. I have been part of the bipartisan call to take this action, and I am glad that President Biden has finally followed our lead,” Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09) said.

“The ban on Russian oil is necessary, but not sufficient. We should not turn from one dictatorship to others to keep the lights on in our country, but the Biden administration wants to do precisely that by negotiating energy deals with Iran and Venezuela. To help make up for the lost imports and prevent our country from being held hostage to the whims of foreign dictators, we need to unleash American energy dominance,” Griffith said.

U.S. production of energy is steadily growing. For the last 18 months straight, the number of active oil rigs in the United States has increased and is 60 percent higher than in January 2021. Additionally, Canadian imports of oil grew to record levels at the end of 2021, providing yet another reliable source of crude.

Story by Chris Graham 

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