European Allies Freak Out After Trump Works To Stymie Russian Pipeline

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Chris White Tech Reporter

One of Europe’s supposed most environmentally friendly countries is criticizing President Donald Trump for trying to prevent construction on a multi-billion-dollar Russian natural gas pipeline.

German officials are pushing back against a Trump administration and U.S. lawmaker-led campaign to kill the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a nearly $10 billion gas line hooking parts of Europe to Russia. Germany is heavily dependent on Russia for its gas and energy supply.

Senate Republicans and Democrats proposed a slew of new sanctions against companies supporting Russian energy export projects. The White House is searching for ways to prevent Russia from dominating Europe’s gas markets.

Germany and Austria have companies helping Russia’s Gazprom with the major pipeline. The Nord Stream is expected to shuttle an additional 55 billion cubic meters of gas directly from Russia to Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the need for EU-Russia talks on the pipeline in early June. She accused the U.S. of politicizing its economic interests in pushing Russia out of Europe’s natural gas market.

“We cannot accept … the threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions against European companies that participate in the development of European energy supply,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a joint statement with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.

Central and Eastern European countries, meanwhile, oppose the project and think that the pipeline would make it more difficult for them to diversify their energy needs. Nord Stream 2 would push 80 percent of Russian gas through Germany.

The U.S. Department of State has noted similar concerns.

“A project that could increase or centralize deliveries of gas through one particular route to Europe is something that ought to be thought about carefully,” Mary Warlick, an official for the international energy affairs at the State Department, told reporters in April.

Germany uses Russian gas as a baseload energy to prop up its less reliable green energy industry. There is evidence that Germany’s reliance on green energy subsidies have caused damage to the country’s electrical grids.

Germany’s subsidies for green energy, for instance, have sharply increased power prices in the country, with the average German paying 39 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity.

Wind and solar power plants in the European country under-performed in January because of cloudy weather with little or no wind, which nearly collapsed the country’s entire grid.

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