On Thursday, the decade-old ban on crude oil exports was voted to end by a House subcommittee.
The bi-partisan legislation is now under way for passage. The bill under the review of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee saw strong support from Republican representatives, while Democrats did not approve at first.
However, Democrats indicated that they are open for negotiation on more sensitive points regarding the interests of oil industry representatives. On the other hand, the bi-partisan bill was hailed to bring benefits both to the United States in terms of creating jobs and to the United States’ foreign allies.
It comes as no surprise that the legislation was led by Republicans in the subcommittee as oil exports have primed on their priority list for years. With oil prices reaching historically low prices, the 40-year old ban on crude oil exports needed to come to an end.
As the subcommittee was hearing statements during the meeting, Ed Whitfield, chairman of the subcommittee declared:
“This bipartisan bill would put an end to the outdated restrictions on the export of American oil. Allowing oil exports would provide a major boost for jobs and the economy, help keep gasoline affordable and strengthen our national security”.
According to Joe Barton, the sponsor of the bill, the ban on exporting crude oil has reached the point where it became outdated and obsolete. With an abundance of crude oil in the United States, petroleum refiners have no reason to fear increased oil prices.
He mentioned that U.S. refineries are working at 97 percent capacity. Under these circumstance it should become abundantly clear that fears related to refinery jobs being diminished are overblown. Lifting the ban on crude oil exports would help refineries maintain jobs, not push them into collapse.
Drawing on Representative Barton’s comments, Bill Flores, also from Texas added that the ban on crude oil exports reflect a reality pertaining to the 1970s. It is high time that new legislation brings modern reality to the front and reflects ‘energy abundance’ currently existent in the United States.
On the other side of the barricade, Democrats expressed fears that the bill could lead to an inflation of gasoline prices, inflict environmental harm and lead to joblessness in oil refineries.
As the bill is moved to the full committee, Democrats and Republicans will negotiate some specifics in order to reach compromise on issues of concern. Both sides are open to negotiation and conversation.
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