September 13, 2018
Barrasso also questioned Senior Fellow at The Atlantic Council Dr. Agnia Grigas, Managing Director of ClearView Energy Partners LLC Kevin Book and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Mark Mills.
Grigas, Book and Mills testified at the committee’s hearing to examine the role of U.S. liquefied natural gas in meeting European energy demand.
Excerpts of Sen. Barrasso’s Remarks:
“Russia continues to undermine peace and security in Europe, as we’ve talked, through a variety of mechanisms, including its use of energy as a weapon.
“It uses its energy sector as a weapon to intimidate, to influence and to coerce other nations.
“Russia continues to be Europe’s main energy supplier.
“It also has significant ownership in Europe’s energy infrastructure, including pipelines, distribution and storage facilities.
“I believe it’s in the national security interest of the United States to help our allies reduce their dependence on Russian energy.
“If America does not step up to the plate now, then Russian influence is only going to grow and continue to grow.
“Due to technological advances and a newfound abundance of natural gas, the United States really now has the capability and capacity to be a strategic energy supplier to Europe.
“The United States can help Europeans meet their energy demands and diversify their energy imports away from countries that use energy as a weapon against them.
“I think our LNG exports create jobs across America, they assist in reducing our nation’s trade deficit, and they help our allies and strategic partners across the globe.
“We have plenty of natural gas to meet our own needs while helping our country’s allies.
“There are a couple of export facilities right now in the United States able to ship natural gas overseas — one in Maryland and one in Louisiana.
“Three more are due to be operational by the end of the year, and at least 20 additional projects are awaiting federal permits.
“And I think we have to expedite these approvals to give our allies alternatives to Russian gas.
“On July 18 of this year, I introduced the ESCAPE Act, it stands for ‘Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe Act.’
“It’s going to improve energy security and help end the political manipulations by Russia through its energy resources.
“It does require the State Department, USAID, and the Department of Energy to create a transatlantic energy strategy focused on enhancing the energy security of our NATO allies and increasing American energy exports to these countries.
“The bill also requires the Secretary of Energy to expedite approvals of natural gas exports to NATO allies and other foreign countries where exports to that country would promote our national security interests.
“So I think it is time for Congress to clear away regulatory hurdles and make the changes necessary to give Americans, as well as our European allies a better energy option.
“The United States’ natural gas infrastructure to me is still inadequate. There are groups and some members of Congress wanting it to stay that way – to prevent our resources from ever being developed. Is it appropriate to keep this incredible resource locked in the ground? What do you think we should be doing?”