White House hails Germany’s decision to halt certification of Nord Stream 2 pipeline

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White House hails Germany’s decision to halt certification of Nord Stream 2 pipeline to punish Russia

Caitlin Dickson, Reporter – February 22, 2022

The White House on Tuesday called Germany’s decision to halt certification of the new Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline “a major turning point in the world’s energy independence from Russia.”

Daleep Singh, who serves as deputy national security adviser for international economics and deputy director of the National Economic Council, made the comment during a White House press briefing in regard to steps taken by the U.S. and its NATO allies to punish Russia for its decision to recognize and send troops into two Moscow-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, President Biden announced that the U.S. was imposing new economic sanctions on Russia.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki looks on as deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh stands at a podium to take questions from reporters.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki and deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh at the daily press briefing at the White House on Tuesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Singh began his remarks by highlighting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s announcement Tuesday that Germany was halting certification of the Nord Stream 2 project, a newly constructed natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany that critics said gave the Kremlin too much power over energy policy in Europe. Singh said the ultimate decision on the pipeline followed U.S. “consultations overnight with Germany.”

“That’s an $11 billion investment in a prized gas pipeline, controlled by Russia, that will now go to waste. And it sacrifices what would have been a cash cow for Russia’s coffers,” Singh said. “But it’s not just about the money. This decision will relieve Russia’s geostrategic chokehold over Europe through its supply of gas, and it’s a major turning point in the world’s energy independence from Russia.”

During a joint press conference with Scholz at the White House earlier this month, Biden vowed to “bring an end” to the pipeline if Russia were to move forward with an invasion of Ukraine, “that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine.” At the time, the German chancellor was less willing to echo this specific promise, saying only that he and Biden were “absolutely united, we will not be taking different steps.”

Russia's Nord Stream pipeline
Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline

During Tuesday’s briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden “has never been a supporter of Nord Stream 2,” and added that while the president didn’t feel it was appropriate to take preemptive sanctions against the project, “the announcement by the German chancellor today was not by accident.”

Biden, she said, “never felt it was a good project, [he’s] been clear about that.”

Biden has acknowledged that the harsh sanctions the U.S. and its allies have pledged in response to Russia’s increased aggression against Ukraine, including the halting of Nord Stream 2, will likely drive up oil and gas prices worldwide. The president said Tuesday that he was taking “robust action to make sure the pain of sanctions is targeted at the Russian economy and not ours.”

“I want to limit the pain American people are feeling at the gas pump,” Biden said during his remarks at the White House.

Singh reiterated that point but declined to provide more specifics on how, exactly, the administration was working to minimize the impact of sanctions on Americans, saying only that the White House is engaged in an “ongoing effort and sensitive effort” to coordinate with major energy producers and consumers.

Asked when Americans could expect to see a difference in the price of gasoline at the pump, Singh declined to provide a timeline but said that “the collective power and authorities at our disposal, plus diplomatic maneuvers at our disposal, collectively we think will be effective at bringing down the price of gas and of oil.”

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.