Ben Voelkel (Johnson)
Laura Maloney (Murphy)
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), chairman and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, issued the following statements after their European Energy Security and Diversification Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 391 to 24:
“I’m pleased the House moved expeditiously to pass this legislation that promotes European energy security and supply diversification. I look forward to passing it in the Senate soon to help address Russia’s attempts to use its energy dominance to influence other countries in the region,” said Johnson.
“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,” said Murphy.
The European Energy Security and Diversification Act directs the U.S. government to provide up to $1 billion in early- and late-stage support for energy projects in Eastern and Central Europe. Paired with increased diplomatic support, such initiatives would diversify Europe’s energy supply and help counter Russia’s destabilizing influence in the region.
The European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019 would:
- Authorize up to $1 billion in debt financing and insurance to catalyze U.S. private sector investment in strategically important energy projects in eligible countries over fiscal years 2019-2023, including:
- Natural gas infrastructure such as interconnectors, storage facilities, LNG import facilities, and reverse flow capacity.
- Electricity infrastructure including transmission infrastructure, storage projects, and smart grids.
- Authorize the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) $5 million per year in appropriations for project feasibility studies, reverse trade missions, pilot projects, and technical workshops to support projects in the earlier stages of development.
- Encourage the State Department to ramp up its political and diplomatic support to eligible countries such as by facilitating negotiations for cross-border energy infrastructure and assisting eligible countries improve their energy markets and regulatory environments.