Countering Russia with a comprehensive energy strategy in Texas and across America


High school students trade science experiments for making Molotov cocktails. Pediatric cancer patients crowded into basement bomb shelters. Architects, teachers and grandmothers take up arms to protect the freedom of their country. Such is the situation in Ukraine as Russia continues its invasion of this sovereign democracy with the aim of rebuilding the Soviet Union.

The United States took action against Russian aggression, with sanctions crippling its banks and currency. However, Russia’s lucrative oil and gas industry remains virtually intact, giving Putin enough capital to support brutal attacks on Ukrainian civilians.

The embarrassing truth is that the United States has been one of Russia’s many clients. Last year we imported hundreds of millions barrels of Russian oil and petroleum products. Following an intense lobbying campaign by Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the White House finally announced today a ban on Russian oil imports. This is an important step in the right direction, but we need to do more to hold Russia accountable and address our own energy insecurity.

In the Senate, I presented legislation counter Russian aggression to fill a gap in the current sanctions that allow Russia to launder money through the buying and selling of gold, as well as a invoice provide US Internet and telephone services to Ukrainian citizens and military. I’ve drafted bills to bolster our own security by screening U.S. investments in Russia for national security risks and identifying ways to counter Russian energy influence globally. In addition to these bills, I co-sponsored legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, increase domestic crude oil and natural gas production, streamline the process for new liquefied natural gas exports, and open oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. . I look forward to discussing these solutions at a conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin on Friday as part of Houston CERAWeek.

Energy security is not an impossible fantasy – in fact, just a few years ago American energy was booming. In 2019, the United States became a total net exporter of energy for the first time since 1952. This lasted until 2020, but President Biden reversed course, taking us back from an era of energy independence to the oil crisis of the 1970s. From day one, this administration has taken actions that weaken our energy security. Just hours after being sworn in, President Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and halted new energy leasing and permits on public lands and waters. Oil production fell by about 1.2 million barrels per day since March 2020, stacking the cards in favor of Russia.

Energy security is national security. We are a resource-rich country and there is no reason for us to be dependent on a power-hungry dictator for our energy needs.

Texas is an energy powerhouse, and we have the opportunity to strengthen America’s energy independence at this critical time. Although Texas is best known for its powerful oil and gas industry, we are also the nation’s largest producer of wind energy, and our solar production continues to grow. The Lone Star State is a leader in energy innovation and diversification, and we are very proud of that. We can offset Russian energy demand globally by continuing to focus on a comprehensive energy strategy.

However, we know that the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow. When Mother Nature fails to provide an adequate supply of energy, we need reliable access to oil and gas. If the President continues to wage war on these energy sources, we cannot protect ourselves or our allies from the whims of an oil-rich dictator.

We cannot expect Russia to stop at Ukraine in its quest to resurrect the Soviet Union, and we know that Putin is not afraid to use oil and gas as a weapon to bring down his opponents. The United States must meet this threat head-on by mobilizing energy to elevate our allies and improve global security, and Texas is well positioned to lead this effort.

John Cornyn is the senior US senator from Texas, a seat he has held since 2002.


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