Ban the barrel

Source: BY ZACK COLMAN, Politico • Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2022

Manchin and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)are teaming up on legislation to block imports of Russian crude oil and petroleum products in hopes of pressuring the Kremlin to back off its war in Ukraine. Whether it would get enough support for Senate passage is unclear, though it likely has quite a few GOP backers. Even climate hawk Markey has supported the basic idea, though he’s offered his own bill.

What’s more clear: Halting Russian energy shipments would take supplies off the market, hiking gasoline prices when Biden and Democrats are taking heat for rising consumer costs. Biden told reporters Wednesday that stopping Russian energy imports is not “off the table.” Yet it’s not a route the administration prefers – after all, Biden in his State of the Union address positioned the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as gas pump relief. Gas prices averaged $3.60 per gallon on Wednesday, the highest level in eight years.

But that pain is worth it to thwart Russian President Vladimir Putin, Murkowski told Josh . She said Putin “has used energy as a weapon,” and the U.S. and allies must push back even if it boosts gas prices. “We are going to see price increases. Nobody wants to see that. And this is going to hurt. But we all need to recognize Europe is in the midst of a war with Russia now. Innocent people are dying, children are dying. We have not been in as volatile as a situation as anytime in my life. And so we are looking right now from a very short window.”