Markey offers bill to boost Ukrainian energy independence from Russia

 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Thursday introduced a bill that would offer Ukraine assistance in increasing its domestic energy production so that it can rely less on Russia for natural gas.

Markey said his proposal would help reduce Ukraine's need for natural gas exports from Russia and ease the conflict.

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"This bill will leverage the full resources and expertise of the U. S. government to assist Ukraine in improving its energy efficiency, increasing its domestic energy production, and reforming its opaque and corrupt energy markets so that Ukrainians can tell Putin they don’t need Russia’s natural gas," Markey said. 

Markey, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that oversees international development, foreign assistance and environmental protection, argued the measure would limit Russian President Vladimir Putin's leverage in the Ukraine conflict.

"This bill will give kilowatts to Kiev, not more profits to Putin’s pals," Markey said.

Specifically, Markey's legislation would authorize on an annual basis, from fiscal 2015 to 2017, $10 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), $2.5 million for the State Department and $1 million for the Trade and Development Agency to help Ukraine increase energy efficiency. The U.S. agencies would promote replacing inefficient boilers, upgrading heating systems and improving building efficiency in Ukraine. 

Additionally, the measure would direct the Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation to prioritize financing for developing renewable energy sources in Ukraine.