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Manchin: U.S. Should Ban Imports Of Russian Oil To Punish Putin

People protest in front of the Brandenburg gate against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Berlin, Germany.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin plans to introduce a bill to ban imports of petroleum products from Russia.

Manchin says lawmakers should take a step that would punish Russia’s Vladimir Putin for waging war in Ukraine: cutting off the import of more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day.

The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, with Russia in second.

Manchin says domestic production needs to ramp up to fill the void at home and for U.S. allies in Europe, which depend heavily on Russia for their energy needs.

Manchin plans to introduce a bipartisan bill to curtail those imports and to end the moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal lands, mostly out west.

Any disruption in the supply could push gasoline prices higher, and drivers are already paying at least a dollar more a gallon than they were a year ago.

“We want to make sure there is no harm to the American public,” Manchin said Wednesday. “And we can prevent that by ramping up our production. We have the ability. We have produced much more than we are producing today, and we can do that again.”

Manchin is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.