Action is possible on legislation to lift the ban in both the House and the Senate.
- The House – On June 17th the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing on the oil export issue. “Crude Intentions: The Untold Story of the Ban, the Oil Industry and America’s Small Businesses” explored the potential negative impacts that lifting the ban might have on the small business community and job creation.
- Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA) joined as a cosponsor of the Barton bill (H.R. 702) on June 2nd, bringing the number of Democratic cosponsors on that measure to lift the ban to seven, out of 70 cosponsors overall. Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) said staff is working to finalize the bill’s various titles, while discussions continue over outstanding efficiency disputes and whether to include a repeal of the ban on crude oil exports. He expects to have his energy bill on the House floor before the August break. Based on the “Architecture of Abundance” framework by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the measure aims to expand energy supplies, boost related infrastructure, promote efficiency and overhaul existing energy programs.
- The Senate – On June 26th, thirteen Democratic Senators sent a letter to President Obama expressing their opposition to ending the four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports, warning him that allowing overseas sales of U.S. oil would put refinery expansions at risk and drive gasoline prices higher. The letter can be found here.
- On June 23rd, Senate Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski released a report making the case that sanctions on Iranian oil should not be lifted without also lifting the current ban on U.S. crude oil exports.
- The report, Cross-Currents: Iranian Oil and the U.S. Export Ban, connects the dots between Obama Administration statements to support this argument.
- In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on June 23, decorated Navy veteran and former GOP candidate Kirk Lippold told the panel members that ending the crude export ban would yield questionable geopolitical and security benefits. Mr. Lippold also told the members that unfettered export of domestic crude could indirectly undercut Azerbaijan, Nigeria, and other U.S. allies whose economies are dependent on oil.
- On June 9th, Senator Murkowski (R-AK), Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, released a report entitled “Rendering Vital Assistance: Allowing Oil Shipments to U.S. Allies” that provides background on the decades old ban and outlines the benefits of lifting the export ban and to permit exceptions to export crude oil to our allies. Murkowski also conceded yesterday that her committee has a ways to go before its energy bill could be ready by her goal of a pre-August-recess markup. She continues to deliberate how the crude exports ban — a top priority for her — fits into the committee’s bill, which she plans to move with as much Democratic support as she can muster.