As Congress continues down its to-do list, there is another legislative opportunity to lift the ban on crude oil exports before the end of the year: a wide-ranging energy bill to be voted on in the House of Representatives this week. If repealed, the 40-year-old ban would bring countless benefits to the United States by supplying the world with more affordable and competitive energy, while also providing Washington with new geopolitical benefits.
Multiple Members of Congress, including bill author House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan), have been pushing for new common-sense energy policies that repeal the bans and limitations on America’s energy exports. However with the White House threatening a veto on crude exports legislation (including this proposed bill, H.R. 8, and H.R. 702, which already passed in the House), Congress is looking to confront the Administration in an all-inclusive energy bill.
Although countless studies have shown that allowing crude oil exports would improve the U.S. economy and national security, the White House still remains firm in its threat and believes America’s focus should be on renewable energy. Nicolas Loris, an economist and a Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, argues that Washington’s mentality towards renewable energy should not be in exchange for lifting the crude oil ban. Instead, “they should be allowed to succeed-or fail- in the open market” together. As a result of free trade in oil and other energy exports, the world would be supplied with cheaper energy through the competition and innovation of an open market.
Crude oil exports would not just provide economic benefits to the U.S., but it would also supply Washington with an alternative geopolitical tool. Unstable nations, like Russia and Iran, currently use energy supplies to manipulate influence over other countries. If the ban is lifted, the ability of nations to use energy as a threat is reduced since U.S. allies would have a source of stable energy.
It’s been four decades since Washington placed the ban on crude oil exports and since then America’s energy landscape has evolved, resulting in the need for new energy policies. Washington must understand this changing landscape and begin moving forward with 21st Century energy, like Representative Upton’s legislation, and lift the ban on crude oil exports.