McKinley, Miller Introduce Bill to Boost Natural Gas Exports to Strengthen Allies

ESCAPE Act will Reduce European Reliance on Russian Energy, Strengthen Energy Security

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Washington, July 29, 2020 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) and Carol Miller (R-W.Va.) introduced the Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe (ESCAPE) Act. The bill would increase energy security for all NATO allies, help NATO allies strengthen their own national security, and expedite approval of U.S. energy exports.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin uses Russia’s natural gas to threaten our allies and partners,” said Rep. McKinley. “This bill would help take away this geopolitical weapon by expanding America’s natural gas exports. In the Appalachian region we are blessed with an abundance of natural gas. Boosting exports will help workers potentially spur investment in the region. It only makes sense that we would use these resources to help our allies and loosen Russia’s economic and political grip on Europe.”

“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 Congresswoman Miller. “American energy is cleaner and more efficient than Russian natural gas, and this legislation reaffirms our commitment to American energy dominance.”

Background:

The ESCAPE Act (H.R. 7751), 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. 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. additionally produces natural gas much cleanly 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.

The legislation's companion bill (S.1830), was introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) in the Senate last June. It passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 17, 2019.


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