Legislation enacted in response to the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s limits U.S. options for crude oil exports. Murkowski, an Alaskan Republican and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said exporting more oil and natural gas could be an economic asset at home as well as a geopolitical tool overseas.
"The United States has an historic opportunity to generate enormous geopolitical and economic benefits by expanding its role in the global gas trade," she testified Tuesday. "We should send a powerful signal to the world that the United States is ready to assert its role as a leader on energy."
U.S. policymakers have called for more energy exports to Europe to counter Russia's economic influence in the region.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., chairwoman of the committee, said liquified natural gas exports in particular could be a win-win for the United States.
"LNG exports will not only drive continued investment in domestic production and create jobs, they are also a powerful geopolitical tool, particularly in light of Russia’s illegal aggression in Ukraine," she testified.
Oil Change International, a group critical of U.S. energy policy, said more exports would lead to more environmental damage at home and lead to an increase in domestic energy prices.