Turner: Now is the Time for Decisive U.S. Action

Russia Increases Natural Gas Price on Ukraine

Secretary Kerry Welcomes U.S. Natural Gas Exports

Washington, DC— Today, Congressman Mike Turner, the Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), made the following statement in response to yesterday’s action by Russia’s state-owned monopoly, Gazprom, to significantly increase the price of natural gas on Ukraine and Secretary of State John Kerry’s joint statement with European energy leaders welcoming U.S. natural gas exports to help our European allies.

"We are no longer dealing with hypotheticals.  Russia has returned to actively using their monopoly on natural gas exports to inflict economic pain on Ukraine.

Unfortunately, this blatant attempt at manipulation is merely an exacerbation of Russia’s routine usage of natural gas pricing as a political and economic weapon.

I am encouraged that Secretary Kerry agrees that exporting U.S. natural gas to our European allies will bolster their independence and strengthen our transatlantic partnership. This follows President Obama’s joint statement with European leaders welcoming U.S. natural gas exports. 

However, delayed recognition and empty rhetoric alone will do nothing to counter Putin’s continued pursuit of a hostile world view.  

Now is the time for decisive U.S. action.

The Obama Administration must order the Department of Energy to immediately approve the more than 20 pending natural gas export permits and he must work with Congress in a bipartisan fashion to eliminate restrictions to export U.S. natural gas to our allies. 

Helping our allies diversify their energy resources is vital to strengthening our strategic partnerships, bolstering security throughout the region, and providing a significant counterweight to an increasingly aggressive Russia."

Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Russia’s state-owned monopoly, Gazprom, has increased the price of natural gas on Ukraine by more than 40%.

“The price increase follows what analysts say is a long practice at Gazprom of punitive pricing for countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe that are at odds politically with Moscow, while offering discounts to governments seen as friendly. The policy is never stated openly, though, and the change on Tuesday was no exception.” -The New York Times, April 1, 2014 

Last week, Congressman Turner urged Secretary Kerry to emphasize the United States’ commitment to exporting U.S. natural gas to our European allies when he co-chaired the EU-US Energy Council meeting on April 2. Today, following the Council meeting, Secretary of State John Kerry issued joint statement with EU energy leaders re-emphasizing the President’s comments welcoming U.S. natural gas exports to bolster energy security for our European allies.  Specifically, the joint statement states:

“The situation in Ukraine proves the need to reinforce energy security in Europe and we are considering new collaborative efforts to achieve this goal.  We welcome the prospect of U.S. LNG exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners.