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March 8, 2022

By Ramona du Houx

On March 8, 2022 President Biden signed an Executive Order (E.O.) to ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the United States.

This represents a significant action with widespread bipartisan support that will further deprive President Putin of the economic resources he uses to continue his horrific war of choice.

The United States does not rely on Russian energy sources. While Europe, on average imports 40 percent from Russian. Germany alone depends on Russia for 60 percent of their fossil fuel needs.

In announcing the restrictions from the White House, Biden said the action was designed to target “the main artery of Russia’s economy,” adding that the ban would “deliver another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”

“Russian oil will no longer be accepted at US ports . . .We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war. . .This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be costs as well here in the United States,” said President Biden. “I said I would level with the American people from the beginning, and when I first spoke to this, I said defending freedom is going to cost us as well in the United States.”

The action taken by the United States already has encouraged other nations to follow suit. The United Kingdom announced that they would ban fossil fuel imports from Russian completely by the end of the year.

“History is going to remember much better what we did or did not do to stand up for freedom than it is going to remember the inflation rate, or the price of gasoline, in the spring and summer of 2022,” said Larry Summers, a former Democratic treasury secretary

Today’s Executive Order specifically bans:
  • The importation into the United States of Russian crude oil and certain petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, and coal. Last year, the U.S. imported nearly 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Russia and this step will deprive Russia of billions of dollars in revenues from U.S. drivers and consumers annually.
  • New U.S. investment in Russia’s energy sector, which will ensure that American companies and American investors are not underwriting Vladimir Putin’s efforts to expand energy production inside Russia.
  • Americans will also be prohibited from financing or enabling foreign companies that are making investment to produce energy in Russia.

While Putin’s brutal war has led to higher energy prices and raised costs for Americans at home, President Biden made it clear that he will keep working to mitigate the pain American families feel at the pump and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels. The Administration has already committed to releasing more than 90 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this fiscal year, with an emergency sale of 30 million barrels announced last week. 

U.S. oil and gas production is approaching record highs, while thousands of drilling permits on federal lands go unused. Federal policies are not limiting the production of oil and gas.  .America is one of the world’s largest producers with a strong domestic oil and gas industry. Natural gas production has never been higher, and crude oil production is expected to hit a new high next year.

From a White House statement: Oil and gas companies, and the finance firms that back them, should not use Putin’s war as an excuse for excess price increases or padding profits, and, as major energy company leaders have themselves said, they have the resources and incentives they need to further increase production in the United States.

In the long run, the way to avoid high gas prices is to speed up – not slow down – our transition to a clean energy future.  We cannot drill our way out of dependence on a global commodity controlled in part by foreign nations and their leaders, including Putin. The only way to eliminate Putin’s and every other producing country’s ability to use oil as an economic weapon, is to reduce our dependency on oil. . . this crisis reinforces our resolve to make America truly energy independent, which means reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. This is a shared goal with our European allies, that we will work together to achieve.

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