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Markey proposes halt to oil, gas exports

March 15, 2013 at 6:20 AM

WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- U.S. oil and natural gas should stay in the domestic market to ensure regional energy security, two East Coast Democratic lawmakers said.

U.S. Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rush Holt, D-N.J., introduced legislation that would place a moratorium on U.S. oil and natural gas exports.

"American oil should be kept here to benefit our consumers, not shipped to Europe or Asia to help boost oil company profits," Markey, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement.

U.S. oil and natural gas production is at historic highs because of new technology used to tap into shale formations.

Last month, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy calling for more exports of liquefied natural gas. They say the exports are a clear public interest.

However, Holt said, "The benefits of domestic natural gas should be enjoyed by all Americans, not just a few privileged multinational companies."

Bills proposed by Markey and Holt outline a 10-year moratorium on U.S. oil and natural gas exports while another would require the U.S. Department of Energy to determine the public interest of gas exports.

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