03.04.21

Cassidy, Senators Denounce Biden for Failing to Impose Sanctions on Russia

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and John Barrasso (R-WY) led a group of 40 senators in sending a letter criticizing the Biden administration for failing to follow the law and impose sanctions on entities involved in the Nord Stream II pipeline.

The Nord Stream II pipeline would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. If completed, the pipeline would make American allies and partners in Europe more susceptible to Moscow’s coercion and malign influence.

In their letter, the senators highlight how Congress has passed several pieces of bipartisan legislation imposing sanctions on this project. They request that the Biden administration utilize all of the tools at its disposal to implement additional sanctions immediately, especially the most recent round of sanctions that both houses of Congress urgently and repeatedly passed last year.

“We write to express our deep concern about the refusal of the administration to impose sanctions on entities involved in the Nord Stream II pipeline. With construction on the project currently taking place, there is publicly available information on vessels and companies engaging in sanctionable activities. The failure of the administration to identify and impose new sanctions signals its willingness to allow President Putin to gain a stranglehold over Europe’s gas supplies and increase its geopolitical leverage. We call on the administration to correct its misguided actions by quickly and fully implementing the sanctions mandated by U.S. law,” wrote the senators.

The following senators joined Cassidy and Barrasso in signing onto the letter: Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Todd Young (R-IN).

You can read the Senators’ full letter here or below:

 

Dear President Biden,

We write to express our deep concern about the refusal of the Administration to impose sanctions on entities involved in the Nord Stream II pipeline. With construction on the project currently taking place, there is publicly available information on vessels and companies engaging in sanctionable activities. The failure of the Administration to identify and impose new sanctions signals its willingness to allow President Putin to gain a stranglehold over Europe’s gas supplies and increase its geopolitical leverage. We call on the Administration to correct its misguided actions by quickly and fully implementing the sanctions mandated by U.S. law.

The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA), as amended by the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act (PEESCA), mandates sanctions on the companies and individuals involved in the Nord Stream II pipeline. The law requires sanctions against entities installing pipes, engaging in pipelaying activities, or insuring or certifying that installation, those activities, and other activities associated with the pipeline. As construction is under way, time is of the essence. The United States must act now to prevent the pipeline from being completed.

For years, it has been the policy of the United States to oppose the Nord Stream II pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Russia across the Baltic Sea to Germany. The intent of Congress is crystal clear. Congress overwhelmingly passed several pieces of bipartisan legislation imposing sanctions on this project including the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), PEESA, and PEESCA. The Administration cannot turn a blind eye to those who violate our laws. We request the Administration utilize all of the tools at its disposal to implement additional sanctions immediately, especially the most recent round of sanctions in PEESCA that both houses of Congress urgently and repeatedly passed last year.

On February 19, 2021, the Administration submitted a congressionally mandated report on entities actively supporting, assisting, and working with those involved in the Nord Stream II pipeline. The Administration made the troubling decision to identify only the Russian pipelaying vessel Fortuna and its owner KVT-RUS, both of which were already sanctioned under the Trump Administration in January. The report also listed 18 entities which have ended their involvement in the project, due to the extensive diplomatic efforts of the Trump Administration to wind down their activities. This completely inadequate report undermines the bipartisan efforts of Congress and previous Administrations by not listing the other vessels involved in pipelaying and pipelaying activities as well as companies providing insurance and certification services.

We call on you to fix this error by immediately identifying and sanctioning the additional entities without delay. While sanctions are being quickly processed on individuals and companies, we ask you to formally notify these entities of the forthcoming sanctions and call on them to stop their work on the Nord Stream II pipeline. In addition, PEESCA also mandates consultation with our allies, which must be conducted and concluded expeditiously.

As you have previously stated, the Nord Stream II pipeline is a “bad deal for Europe.” This point has been clearly demonstrated by Europe’s growing opposition to the project. On January 21, 2021, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed, by a vote of 581-50, a resolution calling on the European Union to immediately stop the completion of the Nord Stream II pipeline. Previously, on December 12, 2018, the European Parliament passed a resolution describing the Nord Stream II pipeline as a “political project that poses a threat to European energy security” that should be cancelled. It passed by a vote of 433-105.

The Nord Stream II pipeline makes American allies and partners in Europe more susceptible to Moscow’s coercion and malign influence. It would reinforce Russia’s near-monopoly and control of natural gas in the region. In addition, the project would weaken efforts to diversify Europe’s energy sources, suppliers and routes. The Nord Stream II pipeline would also provide Russia an opportunity to damage the economy of Ukraine and to further its aggressive actions in the region.

We appreciate your statements as well as those made by members of the Administration publicly opposing the Nord Stream II pipeline. It is now time to act. It is critical that the United States enforce our laws and hold those entities accountable for assisting Russia in building this dangerous pipeline.

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