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U.S. Democrats question stimulus from oil exports

Feb. 5, 2014 at 6:57 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. House Democrats called for hearings to assess whether lifting a crude oil export ban would lead to lower energy prices.

U.S. legislation enacted in the wake of the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s restricts exports of crude oil produced in the United States. The increase in U.S. crude oil production from states like North Dakota has given some legislators reason to ask for a repeal of the ban.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and four of his counterparts sent a letter to Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., asking for a hearing on the potential consumer impacts of lifting the export ban.

The letter, published Tuesday, states there is "no question" U.S. oil production is setting records. Last year, U.S. oil production reached 8.1 million barrels per day, the highest level in 25 years.

"This boom has not provided any discernible relief to American consumers at the pump," DeFazio and others said in the letter.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry lobby representing more than 580 companies, said last month a study it commissioned from energy consultant group ICF International indicates exporting crude oil could translate to $6.6 billion in savings for U.S. consumers by 2020.

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