The tensions between Russia and Ukraine are a “culmination of the United States’ de-arming when it comes to energy diplomacy,” Sen Bill Cassidy said Sunday.
“Less than one year ago, under the previous administration, we were not only energy independent, but poised to become and have the ability to make the European Union energy independent,” the Louisiana Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.” “In less than a year, we’ve lost that ability.”
As a result, Russia now has leverage over the EU in terms of energy, said Cassidy, and can use that power to “blackmail them into turning a blind eye” on its threats to Ukraine.
“Germany’s response has been quite muted to the pending inflation,” said Cassidy. “I would say this is a culmination of a failed energy policy.”
Energy prices are already much higher in Europe than they are in the United States, he continued, and Russia is already hinting at the leverage it has over the EU, “and it could increase if the Russians decide to further exploit it,” the senator added.
President Joe Biden is strongly encouraging Americans to leave Ukraine as soon as possible and has said there is no prospect for a U.S. military-led evacuation, and Cassidy said he agrees “100%” with the president that people should leave now.
“Use common sense — we should not be endangering our soldiers or Marines because somebody decides not to evacuate until after the fact,” said Cassidy. “Get out. If there is a pending invasion, used common sense and leave.”
Biden has also vowed to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia into Germany if there is an invasion, and Germany has said it agrees with that decision.
However, the United States must resume using its resources and ramping them up to provide or replace what would be lost from Russia, said Cassidy.
“That means beginning to lease in the outer continental shelf off of Louisiana, allowing the development of oil and natural gas and public lands inland and speeding up permanent for the export facilities and pipelines that are currently not occurring,” said Cassidy. “Right now, this administration is putting in amber the ability of the U.S. to expand and energy supply. That is why we are paying more for gas and natural gas.”
Cassidy and other GOP senators met this past week with the EU’s commissioner for energy, but no promises were made about meeting Europe’s energy needs, he said.
“Senators cannot promise if the administration slow walks everything by every means possible to decrease U.S. energy production,” said Cassidy. “The administration can take laws on the book and interpret them in such a way, sometimes in direct conflict with a stated means of the law, to slow down production. That is what this administration is doing.”
This means Germany is burning coal rather than natural gas, which creates carbon intensity, said Cassidy.
“We are putting our European allies at threat of economic downturn and allowing them to be leveraged by Russia,” he continued. “This administration’s energy policy is a failure in terms of the climate, in terms of national security, the economy, in terms of, you name it.”
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