They recalled that Congress had passed several sanctions laws against the project
A group of 40 senators, led by Republican John Barrasso of Wyoming, sent a letter to President Joe Biden criticizing his administration for refusing to impose sanctions on entities involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will transport natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. According to the senators, if completed, the pipeline will make American allies and partners in Europe more vulnerable to Moscow’s malevolent influence.
In their letter, the senators stress that Congress has passed several bipartisan pieces of legislation to sanction the project.
The lawmakers are asking the Biden administration to use every tool at its disposal to immediately impose additional sanctions, especially the latest round, which both houses of Congress urgently and repeatedly approved last year.
“We write to express our deep concern about the administration’s refusal to impose sanctions on entities involved in the Nord Stream 2 project,” the senators wrote.
They noted that information is publicly available about the courts and companies involved in sanctioned activities.
“The administration’s failure to identify and impose new sanctions demonstrates its willingness to allow President Putin to establish a stranglehold on Europe’s gas supply and increase its geopolitical influence,” the senators said.
“We call on the administration to correct these mistakes by quickly and fully implementing the sanctions under U.S. law,” they stressed.
The petition was signed by Ted Cruz of Texas, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mitt Romney of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and others, among others. All of the signers are Republicans.
The European Energy Security Protection Act passed by Congress would sanction companies and individuals involved in the Nord Stream 2 project. The law requires sanctions against organizations installing the pipes, participating in pipe-laying operations or insuring or certifying the installation. But the specific actions and their timing are left to the president’s discretion.
President Biden called the pipeline a “bad deal” for Europe and reserved the right to take action at any time in the future if he chooses.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday that new sanctions against those involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could be imposed as early as May.
On February 23, the State Department announced that only one organization was put on the list: the Russian company KVT-Rus, which is involved in laying pipes for Nord Stream – 2. The company owns the Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna, which is involved in the construction of the pipeline.
“Of course, this is not the end of the story. Every 90 days, we are required to provide Congress with an update on the activities we have identified sanctioned activities in the context of Nord Stream 2,” reminded Ned Price, “If we determine that other entities are involved in such activities, we will report that to Congress.”
Price said the next report on Nord Stream 2 will be provided to Congress in May.
During the press briefing, Price said Washington is “well aware of the threat posed by Russia” as it seeks to increase its influence, including in regions far from Russia’s borders. However, according to the State Department spokesman, the level of threat posed to the United States by China is still higher.
Russia, according to Price, “does not have the capability and… not capable of mounting the same challenge that China has.