Senate Committee OK’s Lifting Ban on U.S. Oil Exports
The U.S. Senate energy committee has passed a bill that would lift a decades-old ban on the export of crude oil. The bill passed on a vote of 12-10.
The measure allows overseas sales of the product, and also boosts state revenue-sharing for offshore oil and gas drilling.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairman of the energy panel and a long-time advocate for lifting the ban, said the restriction “is outdated due to the rise of the United States as an energy power.”
The vote comes a day after House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner for the first time voiced his support for lifting the domestic oil export ban, which experts said signaled momentum for an overhaul of the energy policy.
Speaking at a press conference in Washington, D.C., Boehner said that lifting the ban “would create an estimated one million jobs here at home, jobs that would frankly get created in every state. It would help bring down prices at the pump for consumers, and it will be good for our allies.”
For the last four decades, the U.S. has had a ban in place on the export of crude oil. The ban was originally enacted to protect U.S. supplies in response to decades of declining domestic production and issues in the international oil market.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report earlier in the year citing a trio of independent studies that studied the potential impact of a lifting of the oil export ban.
According to one study, the GAO said, “Removing export restrictions could also improve the U.S. trade balance because the light sweet crude oils are usually priced higher than heavy, sour crude oils.
Another report estimated that removing export restrictions could improve the trade balance by narrowing the U.S. trade deficit by $8 to $15 billion per year on average from 2015 through 2035, while the third “estimated that removing crude oil export restrictions would improve the trade balance by $72 to $101 billion per year from 2016 through 2030.”