WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), John Barrasso (R-WY), and 26 colleagues 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 quickly provide our allies with reliable and dependable American energy to stop Russia’s political coercion and manipulation in the region. It also mandates sanctions on Russian energy export pipelines.
“Energy security is national security,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The ESCAPE Act will work to ensure energy independence from Russia and protect America’s national security.”
“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.”
Cassidy and Barrasso are joined by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Katie Britt (R-AL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) in introducing the bill.
Some of America’s European allies are increasingly dependent on Russian energy. Russia continues to undermine peace and security in Europe through a variety of mechanisms, including its use of energy as a geopolitical weapon.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Months later, Russia cut off all gas supplies to Europe in response to economic sanctions imposed by the West.
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.