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US crude oil exports ban: White House opposes Republican bill

US crude oil exports ban ‘obsolete’ – Republicans

US crude oil export ban

House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to approve a bill lifting the US crude oil export ban later this week.

WASHINGTON – The White House said Tuesday it opposes a House Republican bill to lift the four-decade-old U.S. ban on crude oil exports.

A decision on whether to end the ban should be made by the Commerce Department, not Congress, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

Earnest also took a shot at House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans pushing to end the oil export ban, which was imposed in the 1970s as the United States responded to an Arab oil embargo that sparked inflation and prompted long lines at gas stations.

Earnest accused McCarthy and other Republicans of trying to “cozy up to oil interests” by pursuing policies that benefit the oil and gas industry. He urged Republicans to support efforts to eliminate subsidies for oil and gas companies and back investments in wind and solar power and other renewable energy.

Earnest was responding a speech McCarthy, R-California, was scheduled to make in Houston Tuesday to promote the importance of U.S. energy production, including lifting the ban on crude oil exports. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to approve a bill lifting the export ban later this week.

“If there was ever a time to lift the oil export ban, it’s now,” McCarthy said in prepared remarks provided by his office. “Lifting the oil export ban will not only help our economy, it will also bolster our geopolitical standing.”

The oil industry has launched a lobbying campaign to lift the export ban, saying it would produce hundreds of thousands of jobs by offering additional markets for oil companies to sell their product.

Republicans and some Democrats in the House and Senate have joined the push, saying an ongoing boom in oil and gas drilling has made the 1970s-era restrictions obsolete. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said a “scarcity mindset” leftover from that era has been replaced by soaring domestic production of oil and natural gas, even as renewable energy such as wind and solar power also make gains.

A report this month by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an arm of the Energy Department, said lifting the ban would not hurt consumers at the gasoline pump.

Opponents say lifting the ban would make it harder for U.S. refineries to compete internationally and could lead to job losses.

Sen. Edward Markey, a Democrat, said it makes no sense to export U.S. oil when the nation still imports millions of barrels of oil a day and consumers are saving at the pump because of lower oil prices worldwide.

“Low gas prices are a massive economic stimulus for American consumers and our economy,” Markey said. “Oil companies want to lift the export ban in order to tip consumers upside down and shake money out of their pockets.”

The U.S should keep its oil home “to benefit our economy, not hand a multi-billion windfall to Big Oil by allowing it to be sent overseas to the highest bidder,” Markey said.

The Canadian Press

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1 Comment on "US crude oil exports ban: White House opposes Republican bill"

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  1. George O'Hara says:

    It makes no sense to contaminate US ground water and air quality to sell cheap natural gas to other countries so they don’t have to switch to clean renewable energy?

    Consider the example of natural gas production by fracking in Texas, where peer-reviewed scientific studies show that 30% of water wells within 2 miles of an active gas well in the Barnett Shale contain arsenic levels above the safe drinking limits, while no wells farther away exceed the limits. American Petroleum Institute historic data show that 5% of all gas wells leak methane due to cracked casings within their first year of operation and 50% of the wells leak within 15 years. However, things are getting worse as industry has pushed to drill more wells without adequate
    quality control. Nowadays 10% of all new gas wells leak within the first year of operation, which suggests that all of them will leak within 15 years.

    Ground water pollution from arsenic and carcinogenic benzene has been found in all major Texas shale formations – Barnett, Cline, and Eagle Ford. Yet the Texas government, which should be regulating gas drilling, pays no attention. We should expect that within fifteen years, a wide swath of Texas Counties will never be able to use well water without prohibitively expensive purification techniques.

    Such is the legacy of our a government dominated by industry that puts profits ahead of common sense.

    For more information and to keep up with the newest studies, like the Facebook page for UTA CLEAR. Also see the website for Collaborative Laboratory for Environmental Analysis and Remediation – CLEAR http://clear.uta.edu/

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