WASHINGTON Jan 7 The top Republican on the
Senate Energy Committee on Tuesday urged a review of a
decades-old U.S. ban on exporting crude oil, saying it will
continue to disrupt supply and decelerate U.S. production rather
than keep domestic gasoline prices stable.
Alaska's Lisa Murkowski unveiled a report aimed at
triggering debate among lawmakers over whether the United States
should ease restrictions on crude oil exports as it reaches
record levels of production.
"To the extent that the crude oil export ban contributes to
supply disruptions and decelerating oil production (which
affects employment), then the American consumer will suffer the
consequences," Murkowski said.
While crude oil products such as gasoline and diesel can be
exported from the United States, the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920
and the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act require a
presidential waiver for the sale of most unrefined crude oil
abroad, effectively banning exports.
She said the administration should be able to use its
authority to lift the existing ban on crude oil because the glut
of light sweet crude oil being produced may not be able to be
refined economically, and could qualify for a waiver.
She added that if the White House disagrees and chooses to
maintain the ban, "then the Senate should update the law to
reflect 21st-century conditions."
The issue of whether the United States should export crude
oil is shaping up to be one of the biggest energy issues of
Recent editorials in the Washington Post and Wall Street
Journal have called for an end to the ban. U.S. Energy Secretary
Ernest Moniz raised eyebrows last month when he said this and
other antiquated energy policies should be revisited.
Murkowski does not yet have plans to introduce legislation
to lift the ban or to hold specific hearings on it but wants to
win over other senators with facts, spokesman Robert Dillon
Murkowski's Democratic counterpart on the Senate Energy
Committee, Ron Wyden, is due to leave his post to take over the
reins of the Senate Finance Committee.
Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, a backer of the energy
industry, is expected to take Wyden's place and could be more
receptive to discussions on boosting exports.
Murkowski, in her report, also urged that the United States
drop its ban of financing coal projects overseas since coal
trade with foreign partners "remains a bright spot" for the
beleaguered coal industry.
As part of a climate action plan announced in June,
President Barack Obama said the United States would stop
financing fossil fuel projects overseas in a bid to lower global
greenhouse gas emissions.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici, editing by Ros Krasny and