27 REPUBLICAN SENATORS SIGN LETTER TO BIDEN URGING HIM TO BOOST DOMESTIC FUEL PRODUCTION

Twenty-seven Republican senators wrote a letter on Thursday to President Joe Biden, calling for him to boost domestic natural gas (LNG) production and exports amid increasing Russia-Ukraine tensions. ​

The lawmakers were telling Biden that he should boost domestic LNG production to supply Europe, which is currently dependent on Russia for its gas, according to the letter led by Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Republican effort was also in response to a call from Senate Democrats  for Biden to temporarily ban LNG exports.

The senators wrote, “We are concerned by recent attempts to restrict liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the U.S. to our European allies amid tensions caused by Russia. Specifically, the misguided request made by several of our colleagues in a February 2 letter that runs counter to ongoing efforts to assist our allies in pivoting their energy supply chains away from Russia.”

Led by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) on February 2, ten Democrats wrote to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, urging the opposite of the Republican senators. The Democrats, who were mainly from New England states, argued that the U.S. should focus on lowering natural prices and home heating costs for Americans before exporting supply abroad.

But, the American Petroleum Institute, said higher costs in New England were caused by officials neglecting to invest in LNG infrastructure for years. The group said that LNG exports were critical for global stability, agreeing with what the GOP senators wrote in their Thursday letter.

The Thursday letter continued, “Increased production and export volumes of U.S. natural gas encourages developing nations to use a cleaner fuel source. Investing in domestic oil and gas productions creates U.S. jobs and lowers domestic and global emissions.”

“It also increases U.S. energy security and makes us essential to the energy security of others. We ask that you please consider these factors in your ongoing efforts to facilitate the supply of energy commodities to our allies and partners, while simultaneously securing clean and reliable energy domestically,” the Republicans wrote.

According to European Union data, Russia currently controls 46% of European gas imports. But the nation has shown that it is willing to manipulate supplies for geopolitical reasons.

On January 25, the White House announced it would help facilitate greater non-Russian natural gas flows into Europe as tensions increased in the region. Such imports would come from North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S.

A senior Biden administration official told reported in January, “A disruption in the physical energy supplies transiting Ukraine would, clearly, most acutely affect natural gas markets in Europe.”

Reuters reported Tuesday a whopping 75% of U.S. natural gas exports went to Europe in January. By comparison, in 2021, a majority of exports were sent to Asia, not Europe, U.S. data showed.

With the majority of Senate Republicans joining the letter Thursday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul previously criticized lawmakers who sought to sanction a direct Russia-to-Europe gas pipeline, and argued such senators are “largely from states that compete in the sale of natural gas.”

Among the 27 Republicans to sign the letter Thursday were, Energy Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso, Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch, Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito, Armed Services Ranking Member Jim Inhhofe and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker.

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