Matt Bush, FISM News
On Tuesday, just ahead of President Biden’s first State of the Union Address, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) introduced legislation calling the White House to ban all Russian oil imports. The bill was co-sponsored by Energy Committee Republican Leader Senator John Barrasso along with 7 other GOP Senators.
The bill, according to Fox News, “would specifically block the importation of petroleum and petroleum products from Russia.” The bill comes one day after Canada passed a similar bill to block crude oil imports in protest of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
According to The Hill, Russia is the world’s largest oil exporter, exporting around 5 million barrels of crude oil daily. While 60% of those exports are to Europe and another 20% to China, the U.S. imported almost 670,000 barrels of oil a day from Russia in 2021 making Russia the second largest exporter of oil to America.
To date, while the Biden administration has followed through with promised sanctions against Russia, they have yet to really target Russia’s energy sector. This bill has yet to receive bipartisan support, but the GOP lawmakers who co-sponsored the bill, according to Fox News, did pledge to work with the White House if it pursued these energy sanctions.
To make up for the lost imports from Russia, and to make America energy independent again, Rick Scott, who is one of the bill’s sponsors, lists an action plan on his website:
- Immediately Restart the Keystone XL Pipeline.
- Remove burdensome regulations from America’s energy producers.
- Increase natural gas exports to European allies and other global partners.
- Give certainty to oil and gas producers that credit will remain available to them by maintaining the independence of the Federal Reserve and withdrawing the nomination of Sarah Raskin.
- Encourage FERC to reverse their decision to add new barriers to natural gas pipeline approvals.
- Directly instruct the Department of the Interior to allow new oil and gas leases on public lands.
While there is not bipartisan support for this bill, there is bipartisan support in the Senate to ban oil imports from Russia. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a Green New Deal champion, proposed a bill at the same time calling for a ban on Russian oil imports and “developing a comprehensive strategy to re-place oil imported from the Russian Federation with domestic carbon-free energy sources; and investing in renewable energy alternatives to replace foreign carbon-intensive energy imports.”
Following Biden’s State of the Union, 23 GOP Senators, including Mitch McConnell, penned a letter to the President addressing numerous topics from his speech, including his energy policies. The letter echoes Marshall’s bill in a call to reopen the Keystone Pipeline as well as fast-tracking and producing American energy on federal lands.
In his speech, Biden proudly announced that the U.S. and its allies would release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserve, with the U.S. being responsible for the release of 30 million of those barrels. This follows the release of 50 million barrels in November and an additional 13.4 million barrels in January. There is currently enough oil in the reserve for the U.S. to survive for around 6 months at its average oil use.