Texans in Congress Again Target Oil Export Ban
A handful of Texas congressional delegation members say they have an antidote for the anxiety low oil prices have inflicted on the Texas economy: repeal a 40-year ban on exporting U.S. crude oil to the international market.
After returning to the U.S. Capitol this fall, they say they are determined to move the legislation to President Obama’s desk by Christmas.
But the nations capital is bracing for a frenetic fall. At best, Congress can expect an exhausting, four-month legislative slog through everything from Iran to abortion; at worst, the government could shut down. How such a charged atmosphere will affect the push for lifting the oil export ban is anyone’s guess.
As it stands, American companies may export refined petroleum products like gasoline or diesel fuel to the international market, but not crude oil. U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, one of the members most invested in eliminating the ban, calls it the last vestige of energy policy from the 1970s oil shortage crisis.
“Weve repealed every one of those except the ban on crude oil exports,” he said, saying he moved other pieces of legislation in 2005. “The only reason we didnt repeal it then is nobody brought it up. I wish Id repealed it back in 2005 because it would have sailed through.”