By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, October 9, US Representatives Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) and Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) voted for HR702, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The bill would end the ban on the export of crude oil.
New advances in oil extraction recovery technology have vastly increased America’s recoverable oil and gas reserves. Conservatives and business interests argue that the 1970s era ban now hampers America’s ability to compete in international energy markets.
Congressman Palmer said, “I am strongly in favor of ending the ban on the export of crude oil. America is in the middle of the energy renaissance. New technology has led to extensive new energy production and America is now the biggest producer of crude oil in the world, providing jobs for many Americans and lower prices for everyone. However, we are not taking advantage of enormous economic benefits because of the crude oil ban, which compromises American competitiveness and forces American families to spend more on energy.”
Congressman Byrne said, “The second bill covered by this rule would end the outdated ban on crude oil exports. The ban was first put in place in 1975 as a response to the Arab oil embargo, but it is clearly no longer necessary and is tying our hands both economically and strategically around the world. Over the last decade, the United States has become the leading producer of oil and natural gas in the world, which is good news for the countless Americans who work in the oil industry and it is even better news for the American economy.”
As a member of the Budget Committee, Palmer successfully fought to add a policy statement that called for ending the crude oil export ban to the fiscal year 2016 budget. Palmer supported the budget, which passed in March by a vote of 228-199.
Palmer’s office said that according to IHS, a business consulting firm, ending the ban on crude oil will create an average of 394,000 additional US jobs between 2016 and 2030. The Management consulting firm ICF International claims that removing the ban would reduce fuel costs an estimated $5.8 billion per year, up to a 2.3 cents per-gallon price decline.
Ending the ban would allow the United States to export oil to allied countries in Europe and the Middle East, in turn limiting the influence of Russia and Iran.
Rep. Byrne said on the floor of the Congress, “There is broad, bipartisan support for lifting the 40 year old ban on crude oil exports. Leading economists, including former Obama economic policy advisor Lawrence Summers and leading scholars at Harvard University, support lifting the ban.”
Rep. Byrne said, “Former UN ambassador and Energy Secretary under President Clinton, Bill Richardson, said that the U.S. needs to export our oil and gas in order to ‘help us geopolitically in eastern Europe against Russia.’ Recently, 135 senior legislative leaders from 40 states and Puerto Rico sent a letter calling on Congress to lift the ban. The letter notes that ‘the outdated federal export restrictions on crude oil and LNG are detrimental to American workers, our collective security and economic recovery in our states.’ There were three signers of the letter from Mr. Hastings’ home state of Florida.”
Rep. Byrne said, “Lifting the ban will allow the United States to help our allies abroad. For example, Russia has continually used their control over oil to pressure European countries to comply with their wishes. If a country refused, Russia would threaten to cut off their energy supply. By lifting the ban, the United States can begin supporting our allies and, in turn, weaken Russia’s grip on many European countries.”
Byrne said, “It’s very interesting that this administration has worked hard to open up oil export capabilities for Iran yet they are refusing to allow the United States to do so. By allowing Iran to export oil, the President has essentially given the Ayatollah a leg up in the global marketplace, placing the strategic interests of Iran over those of the United States. This is yet another example of the President standing with Iran instead of standing up for the American people. These are four very clear benefits from repealing the ban and unlocking our nation’s energy potential.”
President Obama is expected to veto the legislation if it ever gets to his desk.