Rep. Huffman Introduces Countering Russian Power Plays Act to Protect Energy Security of European Allies

July 16, 2018

Washington, D.C.- Following President Donald Trump’s secretive private meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) introduced new legislation to impose sanctions on the people and companies working on the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project that is designed to allow Russia to exert greater control over the energy stability of America’s European allies.

President Trump brought the pipeline into headlines last week when he opened the NATO summit with an attack on the German government for supporting the Russian pipeline project. However, after his latest private meeting with President Putin, just a few days after a dozen Russian military officers were indicted for attacking American democracy, President Trump has once again chosen to side with Russian interests by walking back his own comments, undermining longstanding U.S. opposition to the pipeline. 

“President Trump has missed yet another chance to get tough on Russia,” said Rep. Huffman. He railed against Germany’s support of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to our NATO allies, but after meeting with Putin, our Commander in Chief now can’t bring himself to do anything to hold Russia accountable, nor to uphold his own administration’s position that this pipeline is not in the American interest. My Countering Russian Power Plays Act would let Congress force the issue: if Russia attempts to use this controversial pipeline to undermine Ukraine and Europe’s energy independence, American sanctions would kick in.”

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will leave Europe vulnerable to Putin’s energy supply manipulations, and will allow him to further exert influence over Ukraine by reducing the flow of gas through Ukraine without affecting Western Europe. Successive American administrations have now opposed this pipeline, and Sec. 257 (a)(9) of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA, P.L. 115-44) specifically reaffirmed the U.S. position of opposition:

“It is the policy of the United States… to continue to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline given its detrimental impacts on the European Union's energy security, gas market development in Central and Eastern Europe, and energy reforms in Ukraine”

The Countering Russian Power Plays Act will impose economic sanctions if Russian gas flows through Ukraine drop below 75% of the previous three-year average. The bill also expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Energy, should convene a meeting of the US-EU Energy Council, and requires the Secretary to submit to Congress a report detailing the United States strategy to support European energy security.