Energy & Environment

Bipartisan bill targets entities doing business with Russian energy industry

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
A view of the gas piping in the Enagss regasification plant, the largest LNG plant in Europe, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. The energy crisis provoked by Russia’s war in Ukraine has helped Spain and Portugal emerge in an strategically advantageous position as an “energy island” in Europe with a relatively low reliance on Russian natural gas.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) on Thursday introduced House and Senate versions of a bill that would bar federal agencies from contracting with entities that do business with Russia’s energy sector. 

The Keeping Russia’s Energy and Military Liable for Invading its Neighbors (KREMLIN) Act would keep the prohibition in effect until Russia withdraws from Ukraine, ends military hostilities and is no longer a threat to NATO members, as certified by the United States president. 

“Put simply, the U.S. government should not be contracting with companies profiting from, and supporting, Putin’s war crimes,” Waltz said in a statement. “We must do all we can to choke off Russia’s ability to wage war against its democratic neighbors.” 

The bills — also co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Jason Crow (Colo.) and Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) — will include exemptions for cases involving vital humanitarian aid or U.S. national security interests. 

The bill comes several months after the White House announced an end to all direct imports of Russian oil and gas as part of sanctions against the Kremlin for the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. In April, Congress passed bills formally banning those imports.

More recently, the European Union, which is far more reliant on Russian imports, announced a formal embargo on Russian oil and gas, with temporary exemptions for Bulgaria and Croatia due to their particular geographical exposure. 

Still, U.S. energy security envoy Amos Hochstein told lawmakers Thursday that he “can’t deny” that Russia’s per-barrel revenues from fossil fuels are up compared to shortly before the invasion.

Hochstein said that while Russia has been forced to sell in markets like India and China at a discount, worldwide spikes in fuel prices have likely kept revenues high for Moscow. The EU’s embargo will not fully take effect until the end of the year. 

Tags Amos Hochstein Jason Crow Marcy Kaptur Michael Waltz Michael Waltz Rick Scott Rick Scott Russia-Ukraine war Russian energy
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