BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on the Biden Administration’s congressionally mandated report that was supposed to identify all entities actively involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The report was due to Congress on February 16, but was not delivered until today, February 19.
“I am deeply troubled and disappointed by the State Department’s report on Nord Stream 2 activities and their decision to forgo additional sanctions on other entities involved in its construction. Congress has passed multiple bipartisan laws regarding this project, and specifically broadened the mandatory sanctions to include the types of pipe-laying activities occurring right now. The administration's decision to ignore these activities demands an immediate explanation.
“I also find the Department’s report misleading. This report provided us with the names of two Russian entities that are currently engaged in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as well as the names of 18 entities that have ended their involvement in the project's construction. It was the State Department under the Trump Administration that conducted the extensive diplomatic outreach, which ultimately saw these 18 entities wind down their activities in support of the pipeline’s construction. In addition, both of the sanctions announced today were imposed by the Trump Administration in January. This report fails to clarify what additional steps the Biden Administration has taken to fully implement the law and end this project.
“We know pipeline construction is currently underway in the Baltic Sea. Maritime tracking information makes it clear that ships not covered in today's report are currently active in supporting Nord Stream 2 construction.
“Democrats criticized the previous administration extensively on Russia, but that same administration imposed significant sanctions on Russia for its malign influence including for Ukraine, the Skripal attack in London, and on Nord Stream 2 specifically. This report is a gift to the Russians and their ongoing efforts to undermine European energy security, destabilize Ukraine, and facilitate corruption and malign influence throughout Europe.
“During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Blinken testified: “the president-elect strongly agrees with you that Nord Stream 2 is a bad idea and he has been very clear about that... I am determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion, the last hundred yards, I very much agree.”
“With this report, it appears the Biden Administration has reversed itself and now indicates the administration believes it is a good idea to allow the completion of Nord Stream 2. I welcome the opportunity to work with the administration to rectify today's mistake and return to sound implementation of bipartisan sanctions on the project.
“Unless this action is corrected, we risk the abandonment of our Central and Eastern European allies, the undermining of NATO, and a reversal of U.S. efforts to push back on Russian influence.”