The Roundup -

By Tie Shank 

House Votes To Lift 40 Year Old Ban On Exporting U.S. Crude Oil

 


Early Friday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 261 - 159 to repeal the ban on oil exports which was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in response to the Arab oil embargo.

H.R. 702 removes restrictions on exporting domestically produced crude oil by repealing section 103 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, relating to the authority of the President to restrict the export of coal, petroleum products, natural gas, or petrochemical feedstocks.

The ban on exporting crude oil was put in place as a response to the oil embargo resulting from the Yom Kippur War in 1973.  In the wake of the embargo, which resulted in dramatic increases in oil prices and massive gasoline shortages in the U.S., the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) was enacted to address shortages.

The recent shale energy revolution experienced in North Dakota and other regions of the country has dramatically increased domestic production of crude oil.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic crude oil production exceeded 9.6 million barrels per day in April 2015.  This is nearly double the daily domestic production amount in 2008.

Studies show lifting the ban will not lead to higher gasoline prices at the pump for American consumers.  According to the EIA, the prices of gasoline and other petroleum based products would be unchanged or even be reduced with a repeal of the crude oil export ban.

North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer, gave an extended speech on the House floor during Special Orders in favor of repealing the crude oil export ban, “We are at a bit of a standstill right now because we are overproducing light-sweet-crude in this country, which is the type of crude that the global markets are demanding but our domestic market because of our refining capacity is not. This is the time to lift this ban. This is the body to do it.”

North Dakota Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp, and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, also supported lifting the oil export ban.

Although passing, the 261 vote fell short of the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.

Recently, the White House reiterated its threat to veto the House bill when it reaches the president’s desk, saying removing “export restrictions is not needed at this time.”

The bill will now go to the Senate.

 

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