WASHINGTON (June 5, 2014) – At a Senate Foreign Relations hearing today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to help Ukraine become more energy independent by boosting the country’s woeful energy efficiency and provide technical assistance to extract domestic natural gas. The bill, the Ukrainian Independence from Russian Energy Act, would help Ukraine reduce its reliance on Russia for natural gas and provides an easier pathway towards isolating Russia than pushing for natural gas exports to the country.

“This bill will leverage the full resources and expertise of the U. S. government to assist Ukraine in improving its energy efficiency, increasing its domestic energy production, and reforming its opaque and corrupt energy markets so that Ukrainians can tell Putin they don’t need Russia’s natural gas,” said Senator Markey, who chairs the Foreign Relations subcommittee that handles international energy issues. “This bill will give kilowatts to Kiev, not more profits to Putin’s pals.”

In April, a coalition of 35 Ukrainian mayors sent a letter urgently requesting assistance in increasing the energy efficiency of their buildings, district heating systems, and transportation networks in order to reduce dependence on imports of natural gas from Russia. Ukraine is currently the second most wasteful country in the world with energy. If the country were only as energy efficient as the average country in Europe, that level of efficiency would almost completely eliminate Ukraine’s need to import Russian natural gas.

Senator Markey’s legislation would double the amount of resources U.S. government agencies are currently expending to help the Ukrainian energy sector, including the State Department, USAID, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Export-Import Bank, and the US Trade and Development Agency.