With the Labor Day weekend signaling the end of summer and the beginning of the second half of our legislative session, we have a chance to reflect on the significant developments in the debate over lifting the 40 year old ban on U.S. crude oil exports. Two headlines stood out this summer:
Editorial Boards Overwhelmingly Voiced Their Support For Crude Oil Exports
This summer, numerous editorial boards from coast to coast weighed in on the importance of lifting self-imposed sanctions on crude oil exports. Increased energy production, domestic job growth, and a strengthened sense of national security were among the reasons listed as to why we need to eliminate the outdated ban on crude.
The Washington Post – “Imagine there were a simple policy that would spur economic growth, lower gas prices and please international allies. This policy exists: removing the United States’ irrational and outdated ban on exporting domestically produced crude oil.” August 2, 2015
The Denver Post – “The president has the power to lift the ban on his own. Congress could do it, too. If they did, they’d be creating jobs and aiding consumers with a single stroke.” April 15, 2015
The Detroit News – “The boon the U.S. economy would experience from an open export policy is obvious. Increased investment, fuel savings for consumers and an uptick in production would boost the GDP by more than $38 billion in the next five years, while lowering the country’s trade deficit by $22 billion.” August 4, 2015
The Wall Street Journal – “The ban is a relic from the Nixon era when oil prices spiked and OPEC began. America’s unconventional oil boom has changed everything.” July 29, 2015
Democrats Warmed Up To Crude Oil Exports
The summer months have seen growing consensus from both Republicans and, surprisingly, Democrats on Capitol Hill about the need to address the antiquated ban. As with any significant policy change, improving America’s chances of achieving energy security through crude oil exports, will require compromise from leaders of both parties. Here are comments from several of those Democrats on the possibility of allowing crude oil exports.
Senator Michael Bennet (D – CO): “In the context of being able to move us to a more secure energy environment in the United States (and) a cleaner energy environment in the United States, yes,” – Houston Chronicle
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D – NV): “We should sit down and work something out with those who are so focused on exporting it and those who are focused on not exporting it and come up with a deal.” – Bloomberg
Senator Robert Menendez (D – NJ): “The US should consider licensing the strategic export of American oil to allied countries struggling with supply because Iranian oil remains off the market.” – Platts
Representative Henry Cuellar (D – TX): “I will continue to advocate for a full repeal of our country’s outdated crude oil export ban for the benefit of Texas as a world leader in energy production and exploration.” – The Monitor
Looking Ahead: The Prospect of Crude Oil Exports Looks Bright
With Congress back in Washington this week after a long August recess, it is absolutely critical that they continue the momentum this issue has created and resume working towards a bipartisan proposal to update our current energy policy. Amy Harder, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, weighed in, praising the collective bipartisan effort pushing for crude exports to date. She recently wrote, “Exporting oil was unthinkable to most energy industry experts until the last couple of years, and support on Capitol Hill has been growing more quickly this year than many would have thought given the bipartisan concern about how exporting oil could, or could be perceived to, raise gas prices—a politically fraught election issue.”
The House could hold a vote as soon as this month. Armed with the facts on the significant economic and geopolitical benefits of lifting the crude export ban, it’s now time for Congress to relinquish our energy past and embrace our energy future.
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