Federal Mid-South lawmakers call for ban to Russian oil imports

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 5:33 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It’s no secret that gas prices are nearing all-time records, but the spike in prices is happening while the U.S. continues to import hundreds of thousands of barrels in petroleum products from Russia per day.

Several federal Mid-South lawmakers issued statements Monday on social media on the matter, saying the U.S. should sever their ties with the Russian oil industry, but that would almost certainly result in even higher gas prices.

“People don’t think we should be supporting Russia in any way whatsoever and yet we buy their product, which their main product is oil and gas,” said TN-9 Congressman Steve Cohen.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine escalates with every passing day, and lawmakers are looking for more ways to pressure the Russian economy.

Discontinuing Russian oil imports would be a major blow, says Congressman Steve Cohen.

The American Fuel and Petroleum Manufacturers (AFPM) Trade Association explained in 2021 the U.S. imported over 700,000 barrels of petroleum products from Russia per day.

Congressman Steve Cohen said on CNN Sunday it’s time to end that.

“That’s their economy,” Cohen said. “Their economy is less than the state of Texas. It’s not a big economy, though it’s a big country. Anything that we can do to stop their economy from functioning as it normally does would be helpful and appropriate.”

Cohen, who was among those to be on the call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Saturday believes there’s bi-partisan support behind this, and social media added proof to that belief.

Monday afternoon, fellow Tennessee Congressman Mark Green said today on Twitter “$17.5 billion is how much the U.S. spent on Russian oil imports last year... Oil sanctions, now!”

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton echoed that sentiment.

Cutting ties would do the opposite of cutting prices at the pump, but Cohen feels Americans should do their part to help Ukraine.

“When Americans go to fill up their tanks, they should think about sticking it to Putin,” Cohen said.

As far as further support of the Ukrainian defense, Cohen said he would support the enforcing of a no-fly zone over Ukrainian airspace.

“At least if we could give them airplanes, they will have a fighting chance. It doesn’t help with missiles. It doesn’t help with artillery, but it helps with airplanes. I think we should definitely do that.”

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