US lifts 40-year-old ban on oil export

Saturday, Dec 19, 2015,11:55 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Washington | The United States has lifted a 40-year-old ban on export of oil, thus paving the way for energy deficient countries like India to open up another frontier to import oil from a distant friendly nation. The ban was lifted as President Barack Obama Friday signed into law the Omnibus USD 1.8 trillion spending package and tax bill for the current fiscal ending on September 30, 2016.

The move was welcomed by the industry, while pro- environmental groups were critical of it. Senator Lisa Murkowski, energy panel chairman, welcomed the decision. “By lifting the domestic crude oil export ban, we are sending a signal to the world that our nation is ready to be a global energy superpower”, he said. With crude exports come job creation, economic growth, new revenues, prosperity, and enhanced energy security for our allies and ourselves, Murkowski said.

Business Roundtable welcomed the move to end the ban on the export of US crude oil, a policy enacted during the 1970s. Business leaders representing every sector of the US economy applaud Congress for voting to end the outdated ban on American oil exports, said Nicholas K Akins, chairman of American Electric Power Company, Inc. and Chair of the Business Roundtable Committee on Energy and Environment. The US is now the world’s number one oil producer, and removing this artificial export restriction will strengthen our nation’s strategic position in global energy markets, he said.

However, Senator Tom Carper, a top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, expressed concern over lifting the ban. I am deeply concerned about the impact of lifting the oil export ban on our independent oil refiners, who employ thousands of hardworking, middle class Americans, he said. These refineries provide transportation fuels and home heating oil for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American families. Lifting the ban on domestic crude oil exports will result in a USD 30 billion windfall each year to oil producers, and put our domestic oil refiners at an economic disadvantage with their foreign competitors who enjoy lax environmental rules and regulations, Carper said.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said her party lawmakers agreed to lift the ban on oil export as a compromise with the Republicans. I had my own problem with the oil, but I decided I could not empower Big Oil to overcome the successes in this bill. The Wind and Solar Tax Credits we added to the Omnibus bill eliminate about ten times more carbon pollution than the export of crude oil will add, she said. Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie welcomed the decision to lift ban on oil export. The oil export part of it is great, it’s good for Americans, its good for the oil industry, its good for the world, he said.

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