Sen. Murkowski: Ending Oil Export Ban holds Economic, Geopolitical Benefits for U.S.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today stressed the economic and national security benefits of ending the 1975 federal ban on exporting domestically produced crude oil at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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“It’s time to reexamine the decades-old ban on crude oil exports and modernize our energy policies,” Murkowski said. “Our nation’s energy landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade alone. Lifting the export ban and allowing oil to be traded freely will put downward pressure on prices and encourage additional production, which in turn will help create jobs, boost economic activity, and send a strong message to the world that we are ready to lead.”

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, questioned witnesses about public concerns that exports could negatively impact domestic gasoline prices. The response she got was overwhelmingly ‘no.’ 

“At the end of the day, the people that I work for – hardworking Alaskans – don’t care what the policy is. They care about whether or not lifting the current ban on crude oil exports will cost them more money when they fill up their cars, snowmachines, and boats. They care about whether or not jobs will be created, and if they will be able to provide for their families if this current ban on crude oil exports was lifted,” Murkowski said. “I’m happy to hear that the overwhelming response to those questions is that oil exports will be good for gas prices.”

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Murkowski also highlighted the positive impacts that lifting the decades-old ban would have on our nation’s national security and ability to deal with rogue nations, including Iran.

“We all recognize that the world is a very volatile place right now. But the reality is that the record surge in oil production that we’ve seen over just the past six years has provided us and our allies with the flexibility to respond to threats with economic sanctions instead of boots on the ground,” Murkowski said. “That’s a good thing and an advantage that I think we should strive to maintain. Exporting oil provides support for our friends and allies abroad and incentivizes more production here. That’s a win-win.”

Witnesses representing all facets of the crude oil export supply chain offered strong support for lifting the export ban and outlined numerous benefits of ending the outdated policy.

“U.S. prohibitions on oil exports no longer make sense,” Elizabeth Rosenberg, director of the energy, economic and security program at the Center for a New American Security, said in her testimony to the committee. “Removing the outdated, discriminatory and detrimental ban on the export of U.S. crude oil will… deepen trading ties with strategic allies, including those in Europe and Northeast Asia. It will improve the economic position and energy market stability of our nation and partners abroad, and allow the U.S. to more effectively spur and lead multilateral action to counter international security threats.”

Ryan Lance, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, said there is “compelling evidence that lifting the ban will help reduce gasoline prices, while also protecting and creating jobs, and spurring economic stimulus across our nation.” Lance added that by lifting the current ban on exports “we have an opportunity to not only keep the U.S. energy renaissance momentum going, but also to help ensure that Americans can realize all the potential benefits it has to offer. The ban on U.S. crude oil exports should be removed.”

Carlos Pascual, former special envoy for energy at the State Separtment under President Obama, addressed this issue head on saying that “eliminating the export ban on crude oil will create jobs, increase household incomes, stimulate economic growth, contribute to government revenues, offer consumers lower gasoline prices, and strengthen our national security and American influence in the world.”

Archived video of the full hearing is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website. Additional information on oil exports, including several reports released by Murkowski’s energy committee staff, is available here