Reps. Kennedy Smith And Solis Join H.Con.Res. 162 As Cosponsors

* Legislation opposes US taxpayer subsidies for South Caucasus energy pipeline routes that exclude Armenia.

WASHINGTON–Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)–Chris Smith (R-NJ)–and Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) added their names this week as cosponsors of legislation (H.Con.Res.162) expressing Congressional opposition to US taxpayer subsidies for pipeline routes through the South Caucasus that do not include Armenia–reported the Armenian National Committee of America. The addition of these three Representatives brings the total number of cosponsors to 48.

H.Con.Res.162 was introduced in June of last year by Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ)–along with Reps. John Sweeney (R-NY) and Joe Crowley (D-NY). The bill expresses the sense of Congress that:

1. The United States should not subsidize any oil or gas pipeline in the South Caucasus the commercial viability of which is in doubt or which hinders the US goal of integrating Armenia into a secure and prosperous regional economic framework;

2. All proposals for South Caucasus oil and gas pipeline routes should be carefully evaluated to ensure that all Caucasus nations are included in consideration of energy and trade routes;

3. Any engineering and feasibility study–and any project implementation–that utilizes US Government funds–regarding the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline or similar energy transportation projects–must include trans-Armenian routes; and

4. The Trade Development Agency should fund and support a feasibility study to determine the cost savings of a trans-Armenia Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

In October of last year–the House Financial Services Committee–under heavy pressure from the Caspian oil lobby–only narrowly defeated an amendment along the lines of H.Con.Res.162. The amendment–offered by Rep. Crowley–would have specifically prohibited the Export Import Bank from guaranteeing–insuring–or extending credit for the planning–development–construction–or maintenance of a Baku-Ceyhan pipeline that is routed around Armenia. Twenty panel members voted for the amendment–twenty-four against. For a roll call vote on the amendment–visit: http://www.anca.org

"We welcome the new support of Reps. Smith–Kennedy–and Solis–and appreciate the leadership of Congressman Knollenberg and his Armenian Caucus co-chairman Frank Pallone in advancing this legislation to save taxpayer dollars and promote stability in an important region for US interests," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "We look forward to working with the Caucus leadership and with Reps. Crowley and Sweeney in helping to educate additional members about the benefits of moving H.Con.Res.162 forward."

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