Tester’s Bill Would ‘Hit Putin Where it Hurts’ by Blocking Russian Oil and Gas Imports

Senator introduces legislation to block Russian oil and gas imports, with additional goal of spurring domestic energy production

As a part of his continued effort to weaken Putin’s regime and increase American energy independence, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today introduced bipartisan legislation to block all Russian oil and gas imports to the United States.

“Strengthening our energy independence from enemies like Russia has to be a top priority as we unite to confront Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine,” said Tester. “Banning Russian oil and gas imports will hit Putin where it hurts, and our best response to rising gas prices should be increasing our domestic production and trade with our allies, not buying from dictators who are actively invading sovereign nations. This critical step isolates and weakens Putin and the oligarchs who prop him up.”

Tester’s Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would declare a national emergency in the face of the threats to our national security, foreign policy, and economy that exist as a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine. The legislation directs President Biden to prohibit imports of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and coal from Russia, and would be in place throughout the national emergency. The United States is a sizable market for Russian energy exports, despite the U.S.’s significant domestic energy production.

Tester’s legislation also comes on the heels of his urging yesterday for the Biden Administration to work to further increase domestic energy production in response to high gas prices. In his letter to the Secretaries of Energy, State, and Interior, Tester called on the Administration to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increase transparency into the oil and gas leasing process, invest in domestic clean energy generation, and to work with oil and gas producers to incentivize domestic energy production in order to lower cost for American consumers. He also reiterated his longstanding support for the Keystone XL Pipeline, and encouraged additional review of similar projects that would keep oil in America.

As a longtime supporter of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, Tester cosponsored bipartisan legislation to override President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL permit and allow the project to move forward. He also broke with his party to approve the pipeline’s construction in 2015, and when former President Obama vetoed the bill, Tester voted to override the veto.