Barrasso-authored Measure Focused on Breaking NATO Member Dependence on Russian Sources

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) on Tuesday cosponsored legislation to boost energy security among North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members while reducing their dependence on Russian energy.

Hyde-Smith is one of 28 cosponsors of the Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe (ESCAPE) Act (S.548), which was introduced by U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)  The bill would create a transatlantic energy strategy, authorize mandatory sanctions on the development of Russian energy pipeline projects, and increase U.S. energy exports to U.S. allies to offset the reliance on Russian energy.

“Using U.S. energy to improve the energy security of our NATO allies strengthens the alliance and our own national and economic security,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Through his aggression against Ukraine and our allies, Vladimir Putin has demonstrated a willingness to use energy as a weapon.  This bill is a strong plan to address Europe’s dangerous reliance on Russian energy sources.”

“In light of Russia’s year-long invasion of Ukraine, it is more important than ever to provide energy security to our allies in Europe.  Putin continues to use Europe’s dependence on Russian energy as a geopolitical weapon to coerce and pressure our allies,” said Barrasso, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  “The ESCAPE Act takes away Putin’s leverage through expanding American natural gas exports. The United States can help our allies obtain reliable American energy and loosen Putin’s political grip on the region.” 

Months after invading Ukraine in February 2022, Russia cut off all gas supplies to Europe in response to economic sanctions imposed by the West.  The Putin regime continues to undermine peace and security in Europe through a variety of mechanisms, including its use of energy as a geopolitical weapon.

S.548 would combat Russian actions by:

  • Directing the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO to work with NATO member states to address energy security for the alliance’s members and partners in Europe and Eurasia.
  • Calling for a comprehensive U.S. government transatlantic energy strategy focused on increasing the energy security among NATO allies and partners and increasing American energy exports to those countries.
  • Requiring the Secretary of Energy to expedite approvals of natural gas exports to NATO allies, Japan, and any other foreign country where exports of natural gas would promote U.S. national security interests.
  • Authorizing mandatory U.S. sanctions on the development of Russian energy pipeline projects. 

Additional ESCAPE Act cosponsors include U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Kennedy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).

U.S. Representative Carol Miller (R-W.Va.) has introduced companion legislation (HR.1253) in the House.