For about 40 years, the U.S. has been restricted from exporting crude oil supplies. When that supply was scarce, the rule made sense as a boon to the country’s own energy independence… and reconsiderations on the matter are long overdue.
For the past several years, the U.S. has built up its shale oil resources and come out as one of the world’s energy superpowers.
Finally, a bill has officially been passed to end the oil export ban; while it was only agreed upon by a House subcommittee, it’s still a major step forward for the legislative change.
During the proceedings, the Republican representatives were in agreement that the ban should be fully lifted. This means no federal regulations would be allowed to stop the export of crude oil.
In August, a similar meeting in the Senate voted on a bill that would allow states a share of oil revenues should exports be allowed.
It wasn’t surprising to learn that not everyone was on board — the Democratic representatives were less ready to vote for the bill’s passing.
Along with the usual concerns about rising gasoline prices and dropping oil refinery business, some representatives did not feel that the oil industry should be immune to federal restrictions.
Other objections included the increased threat to the environment should more drilling for oil be allowed, though new EPA rules regulating the emissions from new oil and gas wells will be in effect by then.
Still, it was not lifting the ban most were against so much as the bill’s specific guidelines, and many Democratic representatives were willing to negotiate further.
“As we move forward to full committee, I encourage us to sit down and…craft commonsense legislation that…benefits everybody along the supply line, including the consumers,” said Texas Democrat Gene Green.
The subcommittee’s top Democrat, Bobby Rush of Illinois, asserted that he “must feel confident that underrepresented communities… would indeed benefit from the opportunities that will come form lifting this ban.”
And so, while it’s clear there is not yet a consensus on the best way to remove the oil export ban, its dissolution appears to be on the horizon.
This will be a saving grace for U.S. oil companies who have been struggling with low prices for months. Entering the global market will offer a range of new consumers for the glut of shale oil the country has to offer.
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Until next time,
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