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Sources within the White House revealed to Axios Tuesday President Joe Biden planned to waive sanctions on a corporate entity close to President Vladimir Putin to complete construction of a Russian pipeline into Germany.
The decision to greenlight the Nord Stream 2 pipeline run by CEO Matthias Warnig, a Putin crony and former East German intelligence officer, comes less than five months after Biden yanked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to Russia’s benefit which runs from Canada to the Texas gulf on his first day in office. The day-one decision cost upwards of 25,000 jobs as the new president preached about nationwide unity.
“The State Department imminently send its mandatory 90-day report to Congress listing entities involved in Nord Stream 2 that deserve sanctions,” Axios reported, adding the department will still request sanctions against Russian ships. “The State Department will also acknowledge the corporate entity in charge of the project … are engaged in sanctionable activity.” Sanctions on the pipeline applications, however, will be waived, opening a new avenue for Russian gas to flow into the central European market.
The move contradicts Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s pledge before Senate lawmakers during his confirmation hearing to block the pipeline’s full construction.
“I am determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion (of Nord Stream 2),” Blinken said.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has projected open hostility towards fossil fuels even as the abrupt Colonial Pipeline shut down last week after a ransomware attack sent gas prices soaring with inflation with outages reported across the east coast. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia were in a declared state of emergency.
“Pipe is the way to go,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters during the shutdown after outlining the challenges with alternative avenues for transport which included truck and train. Granholm didn’t say whether the Keystone Pipeline then, would return online.
President Biden also signed off on a 60-day moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal public land among his first actions in the Oval Office, triggering a review process within the Interior Department still ongoing for millions of acres. The potential ban on new leases, even if not explicit, complemented by a cascade of regulatory measures to put fossil fuels out of business, puts an energy crisis on the horizon. Biden’s energy policies forfeit the United States’s global advantage of energy independence and spike power prices.
In New Mexico, where a third of state land is owned by the federal government, producers are already adapting on the Permian Basin, the nation’s richest oil reserves shared with Texas. Many have already crossed over the Texan border, where less than 2 percent of the state is owned and managed by Washington.