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Washington, DC – House Foreign Affairs Lead Republican Michael McCaul was joined by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (R-OH) and Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Ruben Gallego (R-AZ) in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to request a briefing on the Biden Administration’s implementation plan for mandatory sanctions on the malign Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
“If completed, Nord Stream 2 would enable the Putin regime to further weaponize Russia’s energy resources to exert political pressure throughout Europe. It would also allow Putin to bypass Ukraine, depriving Kyiv of critical transit revenues and making it more vulnerable to Russian aggression,” the lawmakers wrote. “We stand at the ready to work with you to counter Russian malign influence, including by ensuring the Nord Stream 2 is never completed as intended by the Congressionally mandated sanctions aimed at stopping the pipeline.”
Full text of the letter can be found here and below.
Dear Secretary Blinken:
We write to you to request information on the Biden Administration’s implementation plans for the Nord Stream 2 sanctions required under the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA), as amended by the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act (PEESCA).
As you know, PEESCA became law with bipartisan support through the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on January 1, 2021. The updated law clarified the mandatory sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to include vessels engaged in pipelaying activities, companies that provide support services or facilities for those vessels, and those that provide insurance, reinsurance or pipeline testing, inspection, or certification services. The law also requires consultations with allies on these sanctions.
In light of these requirements, we write to request a briefing from the State Department on the Biden Administration’s efforts to implement PEESCA. The briefing should include, but may not be limited to, details on the following points:
The status of the Nord Stream 2 project, specifically after reports that work on the pipeline resumed on February 7, 2021;
The status of the next mandatory report, which was due to Congress on February 16th, on entities engaging in sanctionable activity related to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In particular, we are interested in your assessment of possible sanctionable activity of the list of vessels (provided below our signatures and obtained from open-source maritime vessel tracking date) that are believed to have been engaged in pipelaying or pipelaying activities since the enactment of the FY21 NDAA;
Information on which companies have complied with the 30-day wind down period for sanctionable activity outlined in the law;
The status of ongoing consultations with allies, including with Denmark over how the Nord Stream 2 consortium is meeting the obligations of Danish permits to lay pipe in their waters; and
- Any proposals offered to the Biden Administration on the future of the pipeline that aim to persuade the Administration to forego or weaken the mandatory sanctions, which have bipartisan support in Congress.
If completed, Nord Stream 2 would enable the Putin regime to further weaponize Russia’s energy resources to exert political pressure throughout Europe. It would also allow Putin to bypass Ukraine, depriving Kyiv of critical transit revenues and making it more vulnerable to Russian aggression. Therefore, we agree with President Biden’s assessment that Nord Stream 2 is a “bad deal for Europe,” and with your comments at your confirmation hearing that the United States was “determined to do whatever we can to prevent” the completion of the project.
The majority of Europe also opposes the Kremlin-backed pipeline, particularly in light of the poisoning and wrongful arrest of leading Russian anti-corruption activist and opposition figure Alexey Navalny. On at least three separate occasions, the European Parliament has overwhelmingly passed resolutions calling for the immediate cancellation of the Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. We stand at the ready to work with you to counter Russian malign influence, including by ensuring Nord Stream 2 is never completed as intended by the Congressionally mandated sanctions aimed at stopping the pipeline.
We look forward to your swift reply.
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