Kinzinger’s bipartisan bill would expand sanctions on Russian export gas pipelines

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on June 25 proposed bipartisan legislation that would expand sanctions on the construction of two export gas pipelines running out of Russia.

Rep. Kinzinger sponsored the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act, H.R. 7361, with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), to expand sanctions on both the Nord Stream 2, a new export gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe across the Baltic Sea, and the TurkStream pipeline, a new export gas pipeline stretching from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea.

“As the United States and Europe worked together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia continued their efforts to destroy the transatlantic partnership,” Rep. Kinzinger said. “Giving Vladimir Putin the ability to hold our allies hostage through the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will never be an option.”

Seven other cosponsors signed on to the bill, including U.S. Reps. Steve Womack (R-AR), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Ruben Gallego (R-AZ), while a companion bill will be led by U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in their chamber.

“This legislation is a step we need to take to stop this power grab by Putin, and I’m glad to have so many of my colleagues joining me in this effort,” said Rep. Kinzinger.

If enacted, H.R. 7361 would extend sanctions already in place under a bill Rep. Kinzinger introduced last year that became law in December 2019 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020.

The previous bill, the bipartisan Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019, H.R. 3206, directs the U.S. president to impose visa- and asset-blocking sanctions on any foreign person that knowingly provides pipe-laying vessels for constructing a Russian-origin energy export pipeline that makes landfall in Germany or Turkey, according to the congressional record summary.

Building upon that bill, the newly introduced H.R. 7361 specifically would clarify and expand sanctions applicable with respect to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 or TurkStream pipeline projects, according to the text of the bill.

“We look forward to working with our German partners to find a solution that will ensure they meet their energy needs in a responsible and environmentally-friendly way,” said Rep. Kinzinger.

Rep. Turner said he’s proud to support H.R. 7361 and plans to push for its inclusion in the next NDAA because it “will lessen Europe’s reliance on Russia and provides necessary additional scrutiny to underscore the importance of Europe’s need for alternate sources of energy.”

“The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline is nothing more than a thinly disguised Trojan Horse intended to separate Eastern Europe from the rest of the continent,” Rep. Womack added. “There is no financial reason for the pipeline —  it exists to bypass our allies in Ukraine and Poland while increasing Western Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.”

Rep. Stefanik called H.R. 7361 “an important next step in preventing Russia from further exerting control over European energy markets,” while Rep. Gallego pointed out that H.R. 7361 would “ensure that our sanctions on this project are air tight.”