GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Your political party designation apparently is not too much of a factor in determining where you stand on President Joe Biden’s plan to shut off the flow of oil from Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion and war in Ukraine.
Four top political leaders who represent pieces of the Piedmont Triad weighed in on the plan Biden announced Tuesday morning from the White House, a concept that more than 7 out of 10 Americans support in full, based on a Quinnipiac Poll released Monday.
The concept of Biden’s plan – which followed a related but voluntary announcement by Shell Oil earlier on Tuesday – is supported by about 72% of Americans, even if that were to mean higher gas prices. Those prices are continuing to rise.
The Associated Press reported that roughly 8% of the United States’ imports of oil and petroleum products came from Russia, about 672,000 barrels a day. Russia potentially could sell that oil elsewhere, the AP said, so the impact of such a move might not be as sharp as some would hope.
And although members of North Carolina’s Washington delegation supported that move, a couple of them used the move to make political points about earlier decisions Biden made about energy.
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis cited Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline and reduction in energy production as “short-sighted decisions that have exacerbated the steady rise in energy prices.
“I absolutely support the decision to ban Russian oil imports so we don’t inadvertently help fund Putin’s illegal invasion, but it cannot be an empty gesture to ban oil from one ruthless dictatorship and in turn replace it with oil from another ruthless dictatorship,” he said in a statement released by his office.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro), whose 6th Congressional District represents Guilford County and the Winston-Salem area, said she had been hearing from her constituents of all political persuasions that “we must do everything we can to support the brave people of Ukraine against the horrific attack by the Vladimir Putin.
“We must demonstrate that United States stands with Ukraine. … If we continue to buy Russian oil, we will not truly be holding Putin accountable for his heinous actions. I believe an embargo on Russian energy is necessary to decrease Putin’s gas revenue – this loss of revenue is a strong signal he will understand.
“I am very aware of the high prices at the gas pumps already, and that’s why I am working with colleagues to find measures that will stabilize the global energy market and keep costs down.”
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Cabarrus), whose district touches on the southern parts of the Triad, said he had “repeatedly called on President Biden to ban Russian oil imports. I thank the president for finally taking this step and cutting off up to $75 million a day America was giving Vladimir Putin for oil to finance his war on Ukraine.”
Then he, too, turned political and suggested that “Democrats must reverse their anti-American energy policies” and avoid relying on Iran and Venezuela for oil.
Said state Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden), whose district includes Rockingham and Guilford counties, “We must choke off Putin’s access to cash; cash that is necessary for Putin to fund his aggression. If we are to effectively help Ukraine, we should immediately end purchases of Russian oil.”