Bipartisan coalition introduces bill to end U.S. oil export ban


WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sens Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., along with 11 of their Senate colleagues introduced the Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015 on Wednesday. This bipartisan legislation would modernize federal energy policy by ending the ban on crude oil exports.

Murkowski and Heitkamp were joined by Sens. Hoeven, R-N.D., Barrasso, R-Wyo., McCain, R-Ariz., Corker, R-Tenn., Alexander, R-Tenn., Risch, R-Idaho, Flake, R-Ariz., Capito, R-W.Va., Inhofe, R-Okla., Rubio, R-Fla., and Lankford, R-Okla. as cosponsors representing six committee Chairmen.

“America’s energy landscape has changed dramatically since the export ban was put in place in the 1970s. We have moved from energy scarcity to energy abundance. Unfortunately, our energy policies have not kept pace,” Sen. Murkowski said. “This legislation builds from bipartisan ideas, linking energy security and infrastructure to expanding exports and helping our allies.”

“The 1970s-era ban on exporting American crude oil is as outdated as the typewriters on which the policy was written. It’s past time for an upgrade,” said Sen. Heitkamp. “Senator Murkowski and I are working to change the trajectory—by doing away with this nonsensical, out-of-date ban on U.S. crude exports, we can fully harness our resources here at home, level the playing field in the global energy market, and support our energy security by making sure our allies get energy resources from us instead of volatile regions. In the coming days, I’ll introduce complementary legislation that will hopefully be combined with this bill to make sure our legislation to lift the ban is as strong and comprehensive as possible.”

“Today, America is in the midst of an energy boom, topping Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s leading oil producer. With this surge in production projected to continue, and U.S. refineries unable to process it all, producers should be permitted to sell it abroad,” Sen. Risch said.

“We actually have the capacity to produce enough resources to be a net exporter, yet are unable to do so due to an antiquated and outdated ban. We should take every advantage to export both our resources and our values to nations around the world,” Sen. Lankford said. 

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has long supported ending the ban on American crude oil exports.

In March, the Senate energy panel held a hearing to examine the benefits of ending this outdated energy policy. Murkowski released a report early last year calling for the liberalization of America’s energy trade policies.

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