. This included lifting Trump era sanctions on the pipeline. And now Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is using approving Biden nominees at the State Department and other agencies as leverage to get the administration to reimpose the sanctions given Russia’s continued aggression toward Ukraine — which was passed over for the pipeline’s route depriving the nation of lucrative transit revenues. Russia has also beefed up it military presence at the Ukraine border and Ukrainian leaders are in favor of the sanctions. NBC reported: While the Biden administration and the German government have lobbied lawmakers against the sanctions, Ukraine has appealed publicly to Congress to press ahead with the measures, saying the nearly complete pipeline project will make Kyiv even more vulnerable to Moscow’s pressure tactics.
The Washington Post reported on Cruz’s move: To environmentalists, it might seem strange that Cruz wants to sanction a gas pipeline. Closer to home, Cruz has championed the U.S. fossil fuel industry and blasted the cancellation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But the move makes perfect sense to some Democrats and foreign policy experts, who say Cruz’s maneuvering on Nord Stream 2 has less to do with concern about climate change, and more to do with geopolitical calculations involving Biden and Russia. When asked about the environmental consequences of the pipeline, Vasquez, Cruz’s press secretary, said in an email: “Sen. Cruz has consistently discussed the potentially catastrophic environmental impacts of NS2, including constructing and maintaining a gigantic pipeline at the bottom of the Baltic Sea — which is littered with toxic war munitions. Those implications pale in comparison to the national security risks posed by NS2, including exposing Ukraine to potentially existential Russian military aggression.” NBC reported on Biden’s ongoing support for foreign pipelines: The administration in May defied Congress and suspended sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, citing the need to avoid upsetting relations with Germany and other European partners. Both Democrats and Republicans blasted the decision at the time, and the fallout continues to create headaches for the White House. Critics have long argued that the project would give Russian President Vladimir Putin a political weapon to use as leverage over European countries.
The continent relies on Russia for about 40 percent of its natural gas supplies. Republican congressional aides said the Biden administration needed to revisit its stance given events in recent months, including Russia’s moves in the energy market and its troop buildup on Ukraine’s border. “After averting a government shutdown on Thursday evening, senators left town before taking up the NDAA that they had been haggling over all week,” NBC reported. Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.
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