By Laura Barron-Lopez - 03/06/14 06:36 AM EST
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is making the case for expanding U.S. exports of natural gas as the crisis in Ukraine unfolds.
Udal, who faces reelection this year, introduced legislation late Wednesday evening calling for the U.S. to strengthen strategic partnerships with allies through the expedited approval of natural gas.
"This common-sense bill will strengthen our economy at home and help Colorado companies and small businesses across America bolster our presence abroad," he added.
The American Job Creation and Strategic Alliances LNG Act would amend a provision of the Natural Gas Act to allow for approval of natural gas to World Trade Organization member countries. Ukraine and surrounding countries make the cut.
Republican lawmakers have urged Obama this week to up the amount of exports to the region as Russia's natural gas-export monopoly OAO Gazprom threatened to end its agreement from last year to supply Ukraine with cheaper natural gas.
More than half of Russia's gas exports to the European Union flow through a network of pipelines in Ukraine, putting the region's energy security at risk with any disruption in the gas supply.