(Extensions of Remarks - July 24, 2014)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1224-E1225]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                         HON. MICHAEL R. TURNER

                                of ohio

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, July 24, 2014

  Mr. TURNER. Mr. Speaker, ongoing events in Ukraine, especially the 
tragedy involving Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, pose a significant 
security threat not only to Europe but also the world. Russia's 
military aggression, its tacit support of pro-Russian Ukrainian 
separatists, and its use of energy as a political weapon warrant a 
strong response. The United States and our European allies must take 
strong and definitive action to strengthen the transatlantic alliance, 
and stem Russian aggression and its efforts to destabilize the region.
  The United States must stand with our European allies and re-
emphasize its commitment to a strong security alliance. While I agree 
with the overall goal of President Obama's European Reassurance 
Initiative to increase U.S. rotational deployments, allied training, 
and strategic planning, ultimately this proposal lacks a long-term 
strategy and commitment to our partnership with Europe. We can and must 
do more.
  That is why I authored H.R. 4433, the Forging Peace through Strength 
in Ukraine and the Transatlantic Alliance Act, which calls for decisive 
action to remedy the current crisis in Ukraine and deter greater 
Russian aggression in Europe. Specifically, the measure would bolster 
U.S.-Ukraine security relations by seeking to provide technical 
assistance to the Ukrainian military and increase U.S. intelligence 
information sharing. H.R. 4433 would also authorize the Secretary of 
Defense to ensure the operational availability of the Aegis Ballistic 
Missile Defense system site in Poland and require the deployment of a 
short-range air and missile defense system to Poland. In addition, the 
bill would require the Secretary of Defense to stop plans for the 
relocation and consolidation of U.S. dual-capable aircraft based in 
Europe, conduct site studies for the construction of weapon storage and 
security systems and protective aircraft shelters in North Atlantic 
Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries, and coordinate with NATO 
countries to assess the possibility of altering the posture of forward 
deployed U.S. nuclear weapons. Several of the provisions of my 
legislation are included in the House-passed version of the Fiscal Year 
2015 National Defense Authorization Act.
  Strengthening the NATO alliance is also a critical component to 
pushing back against Russian aggression. The partnership between the 
United States and Europe through NATO has been the bedrock of stability 
in the region. However, it is clear that Russia seeks to once again 
destabilize much of Eastern Europe and restore its control over 
territories lost following the collapse of the Soviet Union. We must 
provide immediate reassurance to our European allies that the United 
States remains firm in our commitment to security. We must also make a 
strong push for the further enlargement of NATO. Specifically, the 
United States should support the accession of Montenegro, put a full 
diplomatic press on the issue of resolving the conflict between 
Macedonia and Greece, seek resolution to the constitutional issues of 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, and encourage the membership prospects of 
Georgia through the Membership Action Plan process. In fact, I authored 
an amendment, which the House approved unanimously, to the House-passed 
Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act expressing strong 
support for the ongoing NATO enlargement initiatives.
  Bolstering regional and global energy security is another key aspect 
of the transatlantic alliance. Russia has repeatedly used natural gas 
pricing to draw governments closer to its orbit and punished West-
leaning governments with higher prices. Previous disputes between 
Ukraine and Russia led to natural gas shutoffs in 2006 and 2009, 
negatively affecting downstream European countries. In April 2014, 
Russia's state-owned monopoly, Gazprom, increased the price of natural 
gas on Ukraine by 80 percent. And in early June 2014, Gazprom cut off 
natural gas supplies to Ukraine.
  The United States must continue to support efforts to help our 
European allies diversify their energy resources. In fact, multiple 
U.S. Administrations have previously supported initiatives to supply 
Europe with alternative and reliable sources of energy, such as the 
Southern Gas Corridor which will bring natural gas from Azerbaijan to 
Europe. That is why I authored H. Res. 284, a bipartisan resolution 
which recognizes the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor to energy 
security and our strategic partnerships.
  At the same time, energy diversification initiatives may offer 
opportunities to benefit the United States economically. For instance, 
U.S. companies are involved in the development of growing recent 
natural gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, which may help 
countries in the region to bolster political and economic ties and 
present another source of energy for Europe. And many of our European 
allies have expressed strong interest in purchasing U.S. natural gas to 
help diversify their resources and strengthen their independence.
  Increasing U.S. natural gas exports, along with development of other 
sources such as the Southern Gas Corridor and the Eastern 
Mediterranean, will help diversify world natural gas supplies and 
create a more competitive, transparent, and diversified global natural 
gas marketplace. This will help curb the ability of countries like 
Russia to use energy as a political weapon.
  In fact, U.S. natural gas production has already influenced global 
markets. Natural gas previously destined for the United States, but no 
longer needed as a result of increased production, was diverted to 
other markets. This increased supply has made the global natural gas 
market more competitive, helping to put pressure on contracts indexed 
to the price of oil and allowing several European countries to 
successfully renegotiate their long-term contracts with Gazprom.
  Lifting self-imposed restrictions on U.S. natural gas exports will 
emphasize to our allies that the United States is a strong energy 
security partner and send an immediate signal to markets that new 
supplies of natural gas will be available, helping to influence prices 
and new infrastructure construction decisions. And regardless of where 
U.S. natural gas is shipped, increasing supply in the global 
marketplace will help provide international consumers with greater 
choice and thus increased leverage to negotiate pricing contracts. In 
fact, Obama Administration officials, including the State Department's 
energy envoy, Carlos Pascual, have made this very argument.
  In addition, fostering a more diverse and competitive global natural 
gas market can complement U.S. and European sanctions on Russia. Oil 
and gas receipts constitute more than 50 percent of Russia's federal 
  President Obama, in a March 2014 joint statement with European 
leaders, welcomed U.S. natural gas exports to help our European allies. 
While I am encouraged by the President's statement, immediate action is 
needed to put force behind these words.
  Over the past several years, I have worked to reduce self-imposed 
regulatory barriers to exporting U.S. natural gas. Specifically, in the 
112th Congress I authored with then-Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), H.R. 
6699, the LNG for NATO Act, which sought to expedite U.S. natural gas 
exports to NATO countries. In the 113th Congress, I authored with 
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), H.R. 580, the Expedited LNG for American 
Allies Act, to expedite U.S. natural gas exports to NATO countries, 
Japan, and other countries of national security interest. I also 
authored H.R. 4139, the American Job Creation and Strategic Alliances 
LNG Act, to expedite U.S. natural gas exports to World Trade 
Organization countries.
  And I am an original co-author of H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and 
Global Freedom Act, which the House recently approved with bipartisan 
support, to require the Department of Energy to consider natural gas 
export permit applications in a timely manner. It is imperative that 
the President work with Congress on these energy security initiatives 
to follow through on his stated support of global energy security and 
U.S. natural gas exports.
  The United States, in partnership with our European allies, must 
respond strongly to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Reinforcing our 
defense relationships with Europe, particularly Ukraine and Eastern 
Europe, strengthening our strategic partnerships through NATO, and 
enhancing European and global energy security are critical components 
to bolstering the transatlantic alliance and deterring further Russian 
aggression in the region.

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