By increasing exports of natural gas to friendly countries, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton believes the United States can "tell Russia to go stick it."
Expanding America's natural gas exports will "help our friends across the globe" as well as send a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin over his recent actions in Ukraine, Upton said Wednesday in a strongly worded speech to an event hosted by ConservAmerica in Washington, D.C.
Upton, a Michigan Republican, made a strong pitch for the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (HR 6), a measure offered by fellow Energy and Commerce Committee member Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, to speed up the approval process for natural gas exports and expand the number of countries eligible to receive them.
"It would change the standards from exporting natural gas from just Most Favored Nations to countries within the World Trade Organization such as Ukraine," Upton said, adding that the bill would speed up the "two dozen or so applications and get them out the door and help our friends across the globe."
Now at the mercy of the Russian supply of natural gas, Ukraine would be an immediate beneficiary of the change in U.S. policy Gardner's legislation would bring.
"Why not export to friends and be a threat to Putin?" Upton said.
Upton also made a strong pitch to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which "has won on every argument."
"It's better and cheaper to send oil in on the pipeline than any other method," he added. "And it's better to get oil from our good friends such as the Canadians than our not-so-good friends from Venezuela."
Upton made his remarks to a packed audience of ConservAmerica, which honors and encourages Republican support for conservation. Founded in 1995 as Republicans for Environmental Protection, the group changed its name to ConservAmerica in 2012.
"The name change was important because too many Republicans were turned off by the term 'environmental protection,'" ConservAmerica President Rob Sisson told Newsmax. "Conservation is a term that Republicans have a rich history with and Republicans today should embrace."
Sisson, former mayor of Sturgis, Mich., noted that Presidents Lincoln and Grant had strong records as conservationists, Theodore Roosevelt was considered the "conservation president," and Richard Nixon launched significant legislation dealing with fighting air and water pollution.
The group gave its "Teddy" Award, a large bust of Theodore Roosevelt, posthumously to Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the U.S. Forest Service and later governor of Pennsylvania, and to Nixon, with son-in-law and New York Republican Chairman Edward Cox accepting on his family's behalf.
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