Upton: U.S. oil policies should match shale era

House committee to consider legislation ending a 1970s ban on crude oil exports.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Sept. 15, 2015 at 7:58 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- As the full House Energy and Commerce Committee considers lifting a ban on U.S. crude oil exports, a congressman said it's time policies match the shale era.

By a voice vote last week, the Republican-led House Subcommittee on Energy and Power advanced legislation that would lift the ban on crude oil exports.

The full House Energy and Commerce Committee considers the measure late Wednesday afternoon.

"It is time for our energy policies to catch up to our new era of abundance," Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a statement.

Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., issued a joint statement last week, saying the "benefits of lifting the ban are many," from domestic economic stimulus to overseas geopolitical leverage.

Opponents of lifting the ban question many of the economic benefits touted by supporters. Foreign refineries aren't configured for the lighter grade of crude oil dominant in the United States, so overseas allies need U.S. fuel more than U.S. crude oil.

U.S. crude oil production from shale deposits in states like North Dakota and Texas means the United States is now among the largest producers in the world.

North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp sat for a panel debate in Washington on the impact of lifting the ban on crude oil exports Tuesday morning.

Heitkamp joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in moving several pieces of legislation aimed at overturning the 1970s ban on the export of domestic crude oil.

The ban was enacted after Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries stopped exporting oil to the United States in response to U.S. policies on Israel.

A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds removing the ban would at most lead to an increase in U.S. crude oil production of around 450,000 barrels per day by 2025. Gasoline prices would be unchanged or, at best, slightly reduced.

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