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American News Feb 25, 2022 5:13 PM EST

Pressure builds on Biden to reopen Keystone XL Pipeline amid Ukraine crisis

"The basic idea, we need to shut down Russian energy production. We need to open up our own," Hawley said.

Pressure builds on Biden to reopen Keystone XL Pipeline amid Ukraine crisis
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, President Joe Biden faces calls to reopen the Keystone XL Pipeline in the US, shut down and sanction Russian energy production, and relieve America's dependence on Russian energy.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem laid out on Twitter Thursday evening six actions that the president needs to take to "put their citizens first."

These points include restarting and expediting the Keystone XL Pipeline, reopening federal lands to drilling and oil or natural gas exploration, and revoking a ban Biden placed on oil or gas leases in the Outer Continental Shelf.

Noem also called on Biden to sign an executive order "to cut the needless regulations slowing down our domestic energy production, refinement, and transport to the American market as well as for export to European markets."

She urged the president to immediately work with European nations to replace Russian energy supplies with American energy, and "Hit Putin where it actually hurts and enact heavy sanctions on the Russian energy sector, something Biden has refused to do thus far."

Noem also urged the president to call on NATO and other allies to cut Russia off from the "Western economy, banking, financing, and other privileges that are extended to good-faith actors on the international stage, and cut Russia’s access to SWIFT."

"If Joe Biden can’t or won’t do all of those things, he should resign immediately before his weak leadership and poor decision-making drag America into another needless war," she concluded.

Senator Josh Hawley expressed similar ideas in an interview with Fox News, stating that he is rolling out a measure next week that would "shut down Russian energy production" and lift regulations on US energy production.

"The basic idea, we need to shut down Russian energy production. We need to open up our own," Hawley said. "Joe Biden has made a major strategic error. He’s done the exact opposite—he came into office, lifted sanctions on the Russian energy pipeline that just stuffed dollars in Putin’s pocket. And he shut down ours."

Hawley said this bill would lift regulations and "stop measures" that Biden imposed on American energy production when he took office last year.

"He canceled pipelines, he stopped oil and gas leases, he imposed new regulations," Hawley said. "The effect of it has been to make us no longer energy independent, but, in fact, to make us energy-dependent now on nations like Russia."

Hawley also blasted Biden for "begging" the 14-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase oil production into the global market, saying it benefited Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"That was before this Ukrainian crisis. Who benefits from this? Vladimir Putin," Hawley said. "So now, it is time to show some resolve with Putin and to show him we’re not just going to allow him to have his energy sector."

Hawley said that the US should sanction Russia’s energy sector and added that "we should get ours back on its feet."

According to Fox News, it is unclear whether this proposed bill will receive any Democratic support, with Hawley citing the Democrats voting against sanctioning Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline.

"This is going to be a real test for them," Hawley said. "They have been willing to give him the pipeline, to give him the energy, which is the dollars that he needs in order to carry out these acts of aggression."

"We should sanction their energy sector down to its knees, and we should open up ours — that, I think, is a great strategic opportunity, the right thing to do for our economy, and I’m going to propose legislation to do it," he said.

"Meanwhile, Hawley said 'no one has done more to enable Putin than Joe Biden,' criticizing Biden’s move to lift sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and 'refusing' to arm Ukraine," Fox News reported.

"What dictators like Vladimir Putin got from that was America is willing to be dependent on foreign nations for its energy, America is willing to give up our energy dominance in the world," Hawley said. "Huge mistake, huge mistake."

He added: "What we’re seeing in Ukraine is a consequence of that, in part."

Hawley continued on to say that Biden’s new sanctions placed on Russia, though the president stopped short of sanctioning Putin himself and did not call for Russia to be banned from the SWIFT banking system, did not go far enough, and blasted the president for pushing America to become dependent on Russian energy.

"Our policy should help the Ukrainians defend themselves, we should help arm them, we should get our energy sector producing again, and we ought to shut down the Russians," Hawley said. "That’s what we need to do. That would be a strong response."

While the sanctions hit major Russian banks, elites, and entities and enterprises, Hawley said that the latest sanctions "don’t really hit the energy sector in Russia," and demanded that he "get tough at some point and actually show Putin what American strength looks like."

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