Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin led a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, in introducing a bill Thursday that would ban oil imports from Russia, in response to its war on Ukraine. The bill would declare a national emergency with respect to the country’s national security, foreign policy, and economy.
The bill directs the president to prohibit imports of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, LNG, and coal from Russia. The president has already had the authority to take these actions since 1917, and this new legislation does not grant additional authority. The ban would be in place during the national emergency and either the president or Congress would be able to terminate the emergency and the import ban.
“The world is watching in shock as Russia wages an unprovoked war on Ukraine, killing innocents as it attempts to destroy a fragile democracy. While the Biden administration has taken noteworthy steps to try to convince Vladimir Putin and his regime to stand down, we need an all-encompassing approach that uses every viable tool at our disposal. By leaving Russia’s energy exports untouched, the United States is ignoring one of our most potent options to stop the bloodshed. We must ban Russia’s energy imports into the U.S. so that Americans aren’t forced to help finance their growing atrocities and halt the Russian aggression. I’m proud to sponsor this bill with Senator Manchin and urge the Senate to pass it immediately,” said Sen. Murkowski.
“The entire world is on edge as Vladimir Putin terrorizes the sovereign democratic nation of Ukraine. The U.S. cannot continue to purchase more than half a million barrels of oil per day because in doing so, we are emboldening Putin to continue using his greatest weapon of war – energy exports,” said Manchin. “The Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would declare a national emergency with respect to Russian aggression and immediately prohibit the importation of Russian energy products. Importantly, this bipartisan bill shows our strong commitment to stand behind the valiant efforts of the Ukrainian people and the measures our allies in Europe are taking to rebuke Putin and his continued aggression. I urge Leader Schumer to quickly bring this bipartisan bill to the floor and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support it.”
Manchin chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Murkowski is the senior member of that committee. Their “Ban Russian Energy Imports Act” was also signed by Senators John Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rob Portman (R-OH).
Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) will introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 2021, the United States imported an average of 670,000 barrels of oil and petroleum products, with a high of 848,000 barrels per day in June 2021, with imports up 24% in 2021 over 2020.
The U.S. has also imported Russian LNG and coal despite having some of the largest reserves domestically. This import strategy puts American national security at risk and supports Vladimir Putin’s ability to stay in power.