‘Window is closing’: US Senate makes last-ditch effort to ax Nord Stream 2 pipeline

‘Window is closing’: US Senate makes last-ditch effort to ax Nord Stream 2 pipeline

After failing to persuade allies in Europe to scrap the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is set to transport natural gas from Europe to Russia, US lawmakers are planning to roll a new batch of sanctions into a defense spending bill, RT reports.

The sanctions against the companies involved in the project have been included in the draft 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch told Defense News on Saturday that the legislation essentially mimics the last anti-Nord Stream bill – the so-called Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act – which was approved by the committee in July but then got stuck in procedural hurdles.

“The reason for the push is that this window is closing. A lot of Nord Stream is done already,” Risch said, hoping that the sanctioned companies working with the Russians “will shut down,” should the sanctions scheme take effect.

The clock is ticking indeed: the pipeline, designed to deliver natural gas from Russia through the Black Sea to Germany and other buyers in Europe, is expected to start operating in mid-2020. Denmark, which was the last country on the route of the pipeline to approve the project, had greenlighted Nord Stream 2 last month.

This stirred something of a panic in anti-Russian circles in the West, with the Atlantic Council publishing an article poignantly titled ‘Three months left to kill Nord Stream 2’ this week. Same sentiment was voiced by Senator Ted Cruz on Saturday, who tweeted that “time is running out for the US to act.”