Both Oklahoma Senators are praising U.S. House Legislation (HR 702) to lift the 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports. The bill passed with a vote of 261-159. The ban policy originated in the 1970s, when global shortages and the Arab oil embargo led the U.S. to closely guard its own supply, but many say it has outlived its usefulness at a time when U.S. oil-and-gas production has reached record highs.
Senator Lankford said, “The House’s strong bipartisan vote to lift the ban on oil exports sends a powerful message that the American people want policies that will provide more jobs and a stronger economy. Oklahomans know that a consistent energy market means consistent energy jobs. Responsible and safe crude oil exports should not be blocked due to extreme ideology. The time is right to remove this antiquated barrier for domestic energy production.”
After the White House signaled opposition to the bill last month, Lankford said, ”It is ridiculous that President Obama fights so hard to help Iran export their oil through the Nuclear Agreement, but opposes American energy exports. How can the President argue that it is good for Iran to export oil, but it is bad for America? When America fails to lead the world in energy, other nations, like Russia, step into world dominance.”
In May, Lankford co-sponsored the Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015, the Senate companion bill to end the ban on crude oil exports. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, lifting this ban will generate $1.4 billion in revenue to the federal government over the next 10 years from oil and gas leases. The ban on crude oil exports was put in place in 1975 in response to the Arab oil embargo, and is no longer necessary.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, “I applaud the House’s action to lift the ban on exporting our nation’s abundant supply of crude oil,” said Inhofe. “This policy was first put into place to address reasonable concerns of a global oil shortage, but four decades later, our nation is in the midst of a shale revolution.
“The crude oil export ban is now proactively working against our nation’s interests economically at home and strategically in aiding our allies overseas. We are now one step closer to overturning this outdated ban, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to make this a reality.”
On May 13, Inhofe and Lankford joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Energy Supply and Distribution Act (S.1312), the Senate companion legislation to end the ban on crude oil exports.
The Washington Times notes, “proponents argue lifting the ban not only would lead to more American jobs and increase U.S. exports abroad, they also point to Obama administration research that shows ending the prohibition likely would drive down domestic gasoline prices” and “would carry significant geopolitical benefits by reducing allies’ dependence on nations such as Russia for fuel.”
“Today’s vote starts us down the path to a new era of energy security, saving consumers billions and creating jobs across the country,” Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement. “American producers would be able to complete on a level playing field with countries like Iran and Russia, providing security to our allies and accelerating the energy revolution that has revitalized our economy.”
“But the White House has in recent days reiterated its opposition to the legislation and has framed the battle over exports in a broader context, saying Congress essentially should abandon any fossil-fuels legislation and focus instead on renewable power,” The Washington Times writes.