Two GOP senators want President Obama to speed up the approval process for liquefied natural gas exports, arguing this would help Ukraine in its time of need.
“While the White House is considering how to support Ukraine, one of the best steps it can take is to help end their dependence on Russian energy,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Ky.) said in a statement. “In 2006 and 2009, Vladimir Putin used natural gas as a political weapon against Ukraine. Today, Gazprom—Russia’s state-owned energy giant, threatened to raise natural gas prices on Ukraine.”
“The United States has abundant supplies of natural gas just waiting to be exported to our allies,” Barrasso added. “If President Obama is serious about helping the people of Ukraine, he will immediately expedite the approval process for liquefied natural gas exports. American natural gas exports would help Ukraine free itself from Russian energy and Putin’s political manipulation.”
Barrasso introduced a bill more than a year ago to give allies in Eastern Europe, NATO and Asia the same preferential treatment as our free trade partners with respect to exports of natural gas.
Over the past three and a half years, the Energy secretary has approved six applications to export liquefied natural gas to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the U.S. while 24 applications are still pending. Half of those have been gathering dust for more than a year.
“The President’s failure to maintain a position of leadership in the world and his strategy of apologetic diplomacy has led to an emboldened Russia that continues to defy President Obama at every turn. The President should work to replace Russian influence in the region with support from the United States, and he can do this by expediting natural gas exports to our NATO allies and Ukraine,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member on the Armed Services Committee.
“I have been calling for the DOE to do this for some time now, and I have joined Senator Barrasso’s push through legislation to require the DOE to urgently approve exports of natural gas that help to promote the national security interests of the United States. We need this action now more than ever before,” Inhofe added.
“Ukraine imports 50 percent of its natural gas from Russia, and Europe imports roughly 30 percent. It’s clear any serious plan from the United States to respond to Russia’s aggression must go straight at the heart of Russia’s economy – energy.”