WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- A bill passed in the U.S. Senate that would end a ban on crude oil exports was hailed as a geopolitical victory, though opponents questioned the evidence.
"There is no evidence exporting crude oil will enhance our national security," Jay Hauck, executive director of the Consumers and Refiners United for Domestic Energy, or CRUDE, coalition, said in an emailed statement.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in a 12-10 vote, voted to repeal a 1970s-era ban on crude oil exports. Committee Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has moved several pieces of legislation aimed at ending a ban on U.S. crude oil exports, arguing removing the ban would boost economic strength at home while advancing U.S. national security interests overseas.
As Murkowski said in the past, Louis Finkel, executive vice president for the American Petroleum Institute, said it's ironic that the ban remains in place while congressional leaders mull an Iranian nuclear deal that could put more of Tehran's crude oil on the international market.
"Lifting the ban will put downward pressure on fuel costs, create jobs, and strengthen our position as a global energy superpower," he added.
A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found some overseas refineries aren't designed to handle the lighter oils from the United States. The CRUDE coalition's Hauck argued potential trade partners need U.S. fuel, not U.S. crude oil.
The measure to end the crude oil export ban lacks support from Senate Democrats.