Momentum to repeal crude export ban continues to build, Gerard says

The drive to remove the 40-year-old ban on exporting US-produced crude oil is gaining momentum as more members of Congress recognize the action’s obvious energy, economic, and security benefits, American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said.

“Experts across the academic and political spectrum agree that American exports would spur greater US oil production, put more oil on the world market, and reduce the power that foreign suppliers have over our allies,” he told reporters in a July 29 teleconference.

Blocking crude exports has become an economic liability, Gerard said. “The competitive edge promised by new crude production has been dulled by outdated regulations,” he said. “Bipartisan momentum is stronger than ever, and we urge leaders in the Senate and House to schedule a floor vote as soon as possible.”

One look at the list of both House and Senate bills’ cosponsors shows momentum is not just building, but building in a bipartisan fashion, Gerard said.

“The competitive edge promised by new crude production has been dulled by outdated regulations,” he said. “Bipartisan momentum is stronger than ever, and we urge leaders in the Senate and House to schedule floor votes as soon as possible.”

The nuclear arms limitation agreement the Obama administration and governments from other countries reached with Iran recently further illustrates why the crude export ban should be repealed, Gerard said.

A notable irony

“The irony that we would allow Iran access to the global oil marketplace at the same time we deny our own companies the same opportunity is notable,” Gerard said. “Let’s decide what’s best for consumers, what’s best for our national security, and how to move forward.”

The crude oil export debate will continue even if the matter fails to cone to House and Senate floor votes soon, Gerard said. “I think the momentum will continue to build, whether over days, weeks, and months, to get rid of this relic. This is a no-brainer. It’s something Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, or however they want to describe themselves can support.”

The matter is part of broader energy policy discussions that are taking place across the country, Gerard said. “It’s been over 10 years since we’ve had an energy bill of any sort, and there’s a lot of pent-up interest in addressing those issues, especially since the US supply outlook has changed so dramatically during that period.”

Gerard said he expects crude oil export policy discussions to increase as Congress takes its August recess.

“We’re encouraging the 35 million Americans in our grassroots networks to remind lawmakers that there’s strong support across the country from all political affiliations,” he said. “Consequently, we’re urging as many people as possible to contact their House and Senate members and ask them to support repealing the crude oil export ban.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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