The Time to Lift the Ban on Crude Oil is Now

In a recently published op-ed in The Hill, Bernard Weinstein emphasizes the need for Congress to take action and lift the ban on crude oil exports before the end of the year. This ongoing debate has been prolonged by obstacles focused on the ideology against fossil fuels rather than the overwhelming evidence underscoring the many benefits of exporting America’s energy.

An associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute and an adjunct professor of business economics at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, Weinstein argues that the U.S. is partly at fault for the world’s crude oil glut through its own self-inflicted ban on exports. As a result, the price of oil is dropping, and the oil and gas industry in America has cut “more than 90,000 jobs since last summer, a number that could double if the export ban is not lifted.”

We hope lawmakers in Congress understand the significance of what is at stake. The oil and gas industry bring $1.2 trillion into America’s GDP and support 9.3 million jobs. Energy companies make up six of the top 25 companies who reinvest in the U.S. As Weinstein mentions in the op-ed, “lifting the crude oil restrictions could generate as much as $13.5 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue by 2020” and another study predicts it will bring an additional 1.3 million jobs to Americans. And even though the House of Representatives has passed legislation lifting the ban, the White House refuses to acknowledge these facts—but still takes credit for the nation’s energy boom.

As the Administration continues threatening a veto on any legislation regarding crude oil exports, other countries are stepping up and taking advantage of the increasing global demand. Countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia are providing crude oil at record rates and unstable Iran is about to join the energy market as well. This leaves the U.S. as the only nation with sanctions on its energy exports, harming us in the process as well as our allies who would welcome a stable source of energy from a friendly ally.

Currently, members of Congress are working hard to see that the ban is lifted before the end of year. Senator John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) is hoping to attach language on crude oil exports to a must-pass highway funding legislation. Failing that, the omnibus spending bill remains the only end-of-year legislative vehicle. The White House and opponents in Congress should recognize the positive economic impacts the energy industry has on our nation and, as such, encourage policies like crude exports that will expand upon that impact to the continued benefit of all Americans.