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senate Bill S. 704

Should the U.S. Invest in Natural Gas & Electrical Infrastructure For NATO Allies?

Argument in favor

Europe’s dependence on Russian energy makes it susceptible to Russian manipulation and coercion. Helping our European allies diversify their energy sources will help them become less beholden to Russia, benefiting both regional and global security.

AVL-Jimbo's Opinion
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10/19/2019
I support Senate Bill S. 704. Natural Gas is a clean burning fuel needed globally for transition from coal. The US has an abundance of natural gas. This brings money and jobs to the states. It will definitely pay for itself. Furthermore, it is a matter of security for our allies in Europe which are subject to import gas from Russia. It's a win-win-win. I would, however, like to see added some commitment of funds to renewable energies as well. We need to be focused on multiple time horizons as the solutions for today should be different from those of 2050 or 2100.
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Sneaky-Pete's Opinion
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10/19/2019
👍🏻👍🏻 the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2018 👍🏻👍🏻 I support and recommend the passage of this bill — the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2018 — would authorize up to $1 billion in financing to catalyze U.S. public and private sector investment in strategically important energy projects in eligible countries from fiscal years 2019 through 2023. These projects would include natural gas infrastructure and electricity infrastructure. Europe’s dependence on Russian energy makes it susceptible to Russian manipulation and coercion. Helping our European allies diversify their energy sources will help them become less beholden to Russia, benefiting both regional and global security. SneakyPete. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻😞. 10.19.19
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Rick's Opinion
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10/19/2019
A good market for US. A way to keep the Russians pinned down economically. Good paying jobs here. What's the issue?
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Argument opposed

Investing in new energy infrastructure and projects in Europe likely won’t break Russia’s current dominance in the market, because Russian exports are cheap and readily available.

jimK's Opinion
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10/19/2019
If we invest in NATO energy infrastructure, it should be in renewable carbon neutral technologies. It is an opportunity to help the world see the opportunities of carbon neutral energy technology and give US developers an edge in developing future markets. It is important for the world to utilize these technologies and if we are to be a leader in this effort, it will be necessary for us to walk the talk. Before the cockamamie climate change deniers start spouting their incredibly inane theories based on half factoid based opinions and outright misconceptions- please support your arguments with actual facts and your credentials that enable you to challenge the consensus findings of career climate scientists who have studied this for years. Climate change deniers are really the hoax.
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Lionman's Opinion
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10/19/2019
We really need to spend that on our infrastructure first.
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RjGoodman's Opinion
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10/19/2019
No. This is an activity that our NATO allies can readily fund and implement themselves. Perhaps we could provide some design and implementation support by making expert resources available for hire.
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What is Senate Bill S. 704?

This bill — the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2018 — would authorize up to $1 billion in financing to catalyze U.S. public and private sector investment in strategically important energy projects in eligible countries from fiscal years 2019 through 2023. These projects would include natural gas infrastructure and electricity infrastructure.

It’d also authorize the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to spend $5 million per year on project feasibility studies, reverse trade missions, pilot projects, and technical workshops to support projects in early development.

Finally, this bill would encourage the State Department to ramp up its political and diplomatic support to eligible countries. This includes facilitating negotiations for cross-border energy infrastructure and assisting eligible countries with improving their energy markets and regulatory environments.

Impact

Oil and natural gas; NATO allies; State Department; and the USTDA.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 704

$416.00 Million
Assessing the House version of this bill, the CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $416 million over the 2020-2024 period (most of the remainder would be spent in future years).

More Information

In-DepthSen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to provide new tools for the U.S. to combat malignant Russian influence, wielded through its dominance of the energy market, and create economic opportunities at home and abroad

“The Kremlin uses bribery, corruption and scare tactics to coerce countries in Eastern Europe into remaining dependent on Russian energy and oil. America has done a lot to help diversify Europe’s energy supply, but we can do a lot more. Our bill helps spur public and private sector investment to help our allies secure new sources of energy, and contributes to strategically important projects to help break Putin’s grip on Eastern Europe while creating good jobs here in the United States."

Sen. Murphy adds that guaranteeing European allies' energy independence from Russia is an important part of an overall strategy to counter Russian influence in Europe

"[The U.S. has] rightly invested billions to shore up military defenses in Eastern Europe, but let’s not forget the equally dangerous implications of Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe. Vladimir Putin gets away with a lot because so much of Europe relies on Russia for energy."

After the House passed this bill, Sen. Murphy said

“I’m thrilled the House has sent our legislation to the Senate. For too long, Vladimir Putin has used Russia’s oil and other energy sources to strong arm Eastern European countries. This will boost private and public investments in the region, creating jobs and protecting our national security."

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), an original cosponsor of this bill in the both the 115th and 116th Congresses, adds that this bill authorizes key U.S. agencies to support U.S. private sector investments in European energy projects

“Russia has shown that it can – and will – coerce nations that are dependent upon its energy. Countering the destabilizing influence that Russia’s energy dominance has in the region is important for Europe and U.S. national security interests. This bill would authorize the USTDA, USIDFC, and other relevant agencies to support U.S. private sector investment in strategic energy projects in Central and Eastern Europe in order to promote increased energy security and supply diversification in the region."

When he introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, Rep. Murphy made similar statements:

“Corruption, graft, bribery, propaganda, illegal invasions – the Kremlin is doing everything it can to gain power over countries in their periphery. We’ve rightly invested billions to shore up military defenses in eastern Europe, but let’s not forget the equally dangerous implications of Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe. Vladimir Putin gets away with a lot because so much of Europe relies on Russia for energy. By helping our allies secure new sources of energy and contributing to strategically important projects, we can help break Putin’s grip on Europe and create jobs here in the U.S.”

Last Congress, original cosponsor Sen. Johnson added:

“Russia has the means to coerce political behavior in nations that are dependent upon its energy. It has demonstrated its will to do so. This bill authorizes the USTDA and other agencies to support U.S. private sector investment in strategically important energy projects in Central and Eastern Europe.  It will support U.S. national security interests by promoting increased energy security and market diversification in Europe.”

In August 2018, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute wrote an op-ed in The Hill, arguing that it’s in the U.S.’ best interests to help its European allies develop energy sources outside Russia:

“[A] key vulnerability for many in Europe is their dependence on Russian energy, particularly natural gas. While Putin has yet to play this card beyond Ukraine, energy intimidation must be a national security concern among many of our NATO allies… The European Union, which includes most of our NATO allies, gets about 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia. While Germany has been critiqued for importing about a third of its gas from Russia, allies in Lithuania and Estonia are 100 percent dependent on Russian gas. Concerns increase as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would increase Russian imports to Europe. If Russia decided to manipulate these energy streams, or even intimidate by threatening to do so, it could cripple the European allies… Given the dependence of our European allies on Russian energy, it is in U.S. national security interest to reduce Russian potential for influence by diversifying gas sources to Europe… Energy security is national security. This means reducing the dependence of our European allies on Russian energy.  It is in the national interest of the U.S. to stand with our allies to do all that we can to help diversify their energy sources.”

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has called partnering with allies to deliver non-Russian energy to Eastern Europe a major priority for the administration:

“An energy policy where we can deliver energy to Eastern Europe, where we are a partner with people around the globe, where they know that we will supply them energy and there are no strings attached is one of the most powerful messages that we can send to Russia.”

Dr. Mamdouh Salameh, international oil economist and professor of energy economics at the ESCP Europe Business School, argues that this bill is unlikely to significantly alter the European energy market, even though it’s politically attractive:

“Given the growing anti-Russian atmosphere in the United States Congress and the United States’ attempts to challenge Russia’s emergence as the energy super power of the world and also given US self-interest and Russia’s dominance in the gas market in the European Union, there is a reasonable probability that the proposed European Energy Security and Diversification Act will be approved by the US Senate… [However,] US LNG cannot compete under any circumstances with Russian piped gas to Europe. Russia has a fully integrated gas industry underpinned by the world’s second largest proven reserves of natural gas, the cheapest production costs, does not have to convert its gas to LNG to ship it to Europe and already has a monopoly on export pipelines to Europe… Russia provides roughly 40 percent of Europe’s gas needs and that dominance will continue well into the future.”

This bill has five bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including three Republicans and two Democrats, in the 116th Congress. A House version, sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) with the support of nine Republican cosponsors, passed the House by a 391-24 vote.

Last Congress, this bill had one cosponsor of this bill, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and it didn't receive a committee vote.


Of NoteRussia is the largest exporter of oil and natural gas to the European Union through state-owned enterprise Gazprom, which currently controls 35 percent of Europe’s gas market. Gazprom’s ambition is to increase its market share to 40 percent due to declining European production in other areas, and the lower cost of extracting gas in Russia. Some observers say that Russia could double its gas exports by 2030 to meet growing global demand — putting Russia on par with Qatar, the world’s largest liquified natural gas producer.

In recent years, Russia has been accused of using energy pipeline shutdowns as an intimidation tactic to blackmail governments in disputes with the Kremlin.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / zorazhuang)

AKA

European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to prioritize the efforts of and enhance coordination among United States agencies to encourage countries in Central and Eastern Europe to diversify their energy sources and supply routes, increase Europe's energy security, and help the United States reach its global energy security goals, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
    IntroducedMarch 7th, 2019
    If we invest in NATO energy infrastructure, it should be in renewable carbon neutral technologies. It is an opportunity to help the world see the opportunities of carbon neutral energy technology and give US developers an edge in developing future markets. It is important for the world to utilize these technologies and if we are to be a leader in this effort, it will be necessary for us to walk the talk. Before the cockamamie climate change deniers start spouting their incredibly inane theories based on half factoid based opinions and outright misconceptions- please support your arguments with actual facts and your credentials that enable you to challenge the consensus findings of career climate scientists who have studied this for years. Climate change deniers are really the hoax.
    Like (112)
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    We really need to spend that on our infrastructure first.
    Like (38)
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    No. This is an activity that our NATO allies can readily fund and implement themselves. Perhaps we could provide some design and implementation support by making expert resources available for hire.
    Like (29)
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    Invest in OUR grids. Invest in OUR renewable energy resources!!
    Like (17)
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    No, non-renewables will be the death of mankind unless we do something about it. It’s time to look into solar, wind, and water as new sources of power.
    Like (17)
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    Doesn’t sound like green energy to me. But perhaps I’m mistaken. Perhaps some people think green energy means the green dollars flowing to the private oil companies. Who knows??
    Like (13)
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    We are 22 trillion in debt, stop wasting our money on other countries.
    Like (12)
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    We cannot continue to invest in yesterday’s energy anywhere. Ask this same question with an eye towards clean energy and the answer will be more positive.
    Like (10)
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    No Americans’ tax dollars to foreign countries or to international organizations! Invest in America and our citizens! And don’t waste money on frivolous alternatives. Fossil fuels are the best fuels. Climate change is a hoax!
    Like (9)
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    No no no no NO ! Invest in America.
    Like (7)
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    We should only invest in CLEAN ENERGY period.
    Like (5)
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    U.S. needs to invest in solar and wind energy anywhere in the world.
    Like (4)
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    We must invest in renewable energy worldwide.
    Like (4)
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    We must move away from fossil fuels to save life on this planet. Why can’t more people get this into their heads?
    Like (4)
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    America should invest in renewable energy period. It’s stupid to invest in wagon wheels when the car is up and running.
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    We need to build our own infrastructure. Other NATO countries have plenty of money. America First!
    Like (3)
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    If we invest in anything.....how about our future and invest in renewable energy sources.....sources that won't pollute the air, soil or water?
    Like (3)
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    Wow, how can we even think of this when our own is so outdated?
    Like (3)
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    The only investment we should be making for our allies, & more importantly in our own country, is clean renewable energy!
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    We give NATO enough. Why would we invest in their natural gas infrastructure?
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