Real Clear Energy recently published an opinion column by GAIN strategic advisor and former Major General James “Spider” Marks regarding the threats posed by Nord Stream 2, a Russian-owned natural gas pipeline project that is intended to transport gas to Germany for distribution in Western Europe.
However, as Marks explains, “if completed, the Nord Stream 2 project will serve as a geopolitical weapon to expand Russia’s influence in Western Europe and undermine American national security efforts with key allies.”
In response to this threat to American interests, a bipartisan coalition of U.S. Senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen have introduced the “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act,” legislation with sanctions intended to halt the construction of the Nord Stream 2 project.
This latest bill is an expansion of measures passed in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that co-sponsor Senator Jeanne Shaheen described as ensuring “Russia does not surreptitiously extend its malign influence throughout Europe,” and protecting the Ukraine, Europe’s energy independence, and American allies from Russian exploitation.
With Nord Stream 2, Russia tightens their grip on American allies in Europe, as these nations develop a reliance on Russia for their energy needs. But relying on a volatile and potentially unpredictable regime for energy presents new uncertainty and risks.
As such, American policymakers must unlock our domestic energy resources to better support our European allies with reliable energy, all while bolstering our own energy industry and limiting Russia’s global influence. Marks suggests these measures include investment and approval of export terminals along the Gulf of Mexico, as well as allowing offshore leasing and drilling activity.
As Marks concludes:
The United States is in a global leadership position when it comes to energy. To sustain that role, attention must be given to improving domestic energy strength and reiterating to allies that we are capable and eager to support them. Allowing Russia to complete and operationalize the Nord Stream 2 pipeline forfeits strategic advantages critical to the United States and its allies.