US representatives Gus Bilirakis and Nicole Malliotakis have criticised the US government’s unilateral move to reverse its policy on the EastMed pipeline, noting that the US State Department seems to have rushed to a conclusion.
It has also failed to take important steps, including consulting with US allies and partners and the US Congress, as required by EastMed Act, they said.
In a letter sent to acting assistant Secretary of State Naz Durakoglu on Friday, they asked to be briefed in person rather than answered in writing and the signatories to the EastMed pipepline in addition to other interested representatives by State Department energy security adviser Amos Hochstein and anyone else responsible for government policy concerning energy resources from the Eastern Mediterranean.
The US State Department announced in January it was abandoning the EastMed gas pipeline.
Although the project has been declared a ‘project of common interest’ by the European Commission a feasibility study into it has yet to be completed.
It would have to conclude that the project fits wit the EU’s declared plan to move forward with more environmentally friendly fuels.
In the letter the two politicians dispute what they describe as the “rationale behind this policy reversal” for the pipeline, stating that while previous US support for the gas pipeline in the Eastern Mediterranean did indeed depend on commercial viability and reversal the State Department’s policy presupposes a lack of such sustainability.
This conclusion, they said, seems to have been reached unilaterally, as consultations with US allies and partners in the region are lacking before the completion of sustainability studies.
The EastMed Act requires multiple reports to be submitted to Congress on energy development and infrastructure, and as far as we know, no report has been submitted that thoroughly analyses the issue of commercial viability, they said.
“The State Department seems to have rushed to a conclusion here,” they added.
They also criticised the State Department’s intention to put pressure on its allies and partners to reverse the government’s policies. “The State Department has unilaterally removed options from the table,” the representatives said.
“The way in which the issue of the Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline has been handled only helps the malicious influences, including Russia, Turkey and Iran,: they added.