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U.S. Senate To Consider Bill Boosting LNG Exports to Europe, Taking Aim At Russian Gas

San Francisco Chronicle

WASHINGTON – Two days after President Donald Trump’s controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, some Senate Republicans are looking to hit Russia where it hurts – it’s energy sector.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., introduced legislation Wednesday calling for the Department of Energy to speed up approval of LNG exports to Europe, where Russia has long had a strangle hold on natural gas supplies. Likewise, the bill would authorize U.S. sanctions on Russian energy projects, including the planned Nordstream 2 pipeline, which would run across the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

“It is in the national security interests of our country to help our allies reduce their dependence on Russian energy,” Barrasso said on the senate floor. “”Where those countries don’t see it for themselves, we need to show them how important it is for their own security.”

With Republicans anxious to prove their anti-Russian bonafides, Congress is expected to consider in the weeks ahead numerous pieces of legislation designed to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

That follows a summit in Helsinki Monday in which Trump, standing alongside Putin, said the Russian president had made a “strong and powerful” case that his country had not interfered in the election. He also questioned unanimous consensus among U.S. intelligence officials that Russia had in fact interfered – a statement the president attempted to walk back Tuesday.

Under the legislation, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the former Texas senator, would be directed to encourage members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to work with the United States to “achieve energy security for its members and partners in Europe and Eurasia.”

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