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Assemblyman John Catalano. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

10th district legislators call for energy independence amid Ukraine invasion

Holzapfel says sanctions against Russia will have ‘negligible effect’

By Joey Fox, March 02 2022 3:11 pm

While they lauded the efforts the New Jersey legislature has already made to put economic pressure on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, the 10th district’s legislative delegation said today that any actions taken without working towards energy independence will be futile.

“I wholeheartedly support the recent sanctions bill approved by the Senate Budget Committee,” State Sen. James Holzapfel (R-Toms River) said in a statement. “However, it will ultimately have a negligible effect on Russia’s economy because the United States will continue to import Russian oil every day and give them billions of dollars in the process.”

Assemblyman John Catalano (R-Brick) blamed the country’s lack of energy independence on President Joe Biden, who has made combating climate change and transitioning to renewable energy a priority.

“Perhaps if the Biden Administration did not halt the construction of numerous pipelines necessary for America’s energy independence, New Jersey’s sanctions may be somewhat effective,” Catalano said. “Now is the perfect time to dramatically increase our oil and natural gas production here at home so that we can implement sanctions that actually have teeth.”

The legislature currently is working on two bills related to the invasion: a resolution that simply condemns Russia’s actions, and a more impactful bill sponsored by State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) to bar state entities from doing business with Russia. The former passed the Assembly on Monday, while the latter has yet to come for a full vote in either chamber.

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