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Montana senators join push to ban Russian energy imports

Pumpjacks in North Dakota's Bakken oil patch extract oil from deep underground. Oil production has grown nationally in recent months to 9.3 million barrels of oil per day.<em></em>

Montana’s U.S. senators have joined a bipartisan group calling for an import ban on Russian energy.

Democrat Jon Tester and Republican Steve Daines have joined 18 senators and 2 congressmen in supporting the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Joe Manchin of West Virginia and committee member Lisa Murkowski of Alaska introduced the bill Thursday. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey will introduce a companion bill in the House.

The Senate energy committee says the bill would ban the import of Russian crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas or LNG, and coal.

"Strengthening our energy independence from enemies like Russian has to be a top priority as we united to confront Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine," Tester said in a statement.

Daines said in a separate statement that President Joe Biden and the U.S. "need to unleash American energy production and stop funding Putin’s ruthless war chest.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports in 2021 the U.S. imported an average of close to 21 million barrels of oil and petroleum products from Russia a month.

The Senate energy committee says the U.S. has also imported Russian LNG and coal despite having some of the largest domestic reserves.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.