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Montana's elected leaders react to President banning Russian oil

Montana State Capitol Ukraine
Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 08, 2022

HELENA — President Joe Biden announced Tuesday a U.S.ban on Russian oil imports due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The ban will also include natural gas and coal.

“We're banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be accepted at U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to the Putin war machine," said Biden.

The move comes as gas and other energy prices rapidly increase in the U.S. following the Russian invasion.

Montana's U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R) and Jon Tester (D) praised the move, while also calling on increasing domestic energy production.

“Great,” Daines said in a news release. “Now instead of looking to Iran and Venezuela for oil—work with American producers and unleash American energy production!”

“I appreciate President Biden working with our bipartisan coalition to ban imports of Russian oil and gas. This will weaken Putin's regime,” Tester posted on Twitter. “Now we've got to increase domestic production and strengthen our energy independence so we can get working families some relief at the pump.”

In recent days both Daines and Tester have pushed for increasing U.S. energy independence, including restarting the Keystone XL pipeline.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Russian oil accounted for 7.4% of total U.S. imports between July 2021-December 2021.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte tweeted that the state is ready to make America energy secure and independent.

“Our adversaries are the only beneficiaries when we aren't expanding production and supply here at home,” wrote Gianforte.

Biden said the move was made in consultation with NATO and European allies to show a united front against the actions of Russian President Vladamir Putin.

“We’re moving forward with this ban understanding that many of our European allies and partners may not be in a position to join us,” Biden said in his address. “The United States produces far more oil domestically than all of the European countries combined. In fact, we are a net exporter of energy. We can take this step when others cannot.”

Montana's U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale criticized Biden, saying the president was not being transparent about the United State’s oil production, noting the country had decreased its oil production from 2019 to 2021.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2019 the country produced 12.2 million barrels of oil a day; so far in 2021, the U.S. has produced 11.2 million barrels a day. The drop comes after a significant increase over the last 14 years. In 2008, the U.S. was producing 5 million barrels a day, and by 2018 the country was producing 10.9 million barrels a day.