Congress shouldn’t act on American oil exports
Letter to the Editor: Congress shouldn’t act on American oil exports
Thursday, September 10, 2015
To the Times:
We’ve heard politicians call for “energy independence” for years. Recently there’s been a breakthrough. After years of lagging behind, in 2011 America began producing more oil than Russia. By 2013, we produced more than even Saudi Arabia.
This is real progress toward energy independence and security. It is an achievement that was hard to foresee a decade ago.
But Congress is considering making a change to a 40-year old law that helped bring about this leap toward energy independence. Congress should slow down and reconsider. I’m talking about the ban on exporting American crude oil, petroleum taken from American lands and refined right here in Southeastern Pennsylvania by the region’s oil workers. The ban was established during the oil crisis in the 1970s to counter OPEC’s manipulation of global oil prices to its benefit and to our disadvantage (an ongoing goal of OPEC’s).
This month Congress is expected to consider lifting the export ban and allowing American crude to be shipped overseas and held captive by foreign countries for refining or storage. Sending American crude overseas while simultaneously importing crude from the Middle East is not a strategy for energy independence and security. Just the opposite is true.
The recent declines in gas prices have been a relief in a sluggish economy. The last thing we should do to hard-working taxpayers in Pennsylvania is cause those prices to shoot upwards again. Lifting the crude oil ban would likely to do just that. America’s energy and refining resurgence has brought great benefits to our economy and our security, but we cannot forget when things didn’t look quite so bright. Once “energy independence” seemed like a pipe dream, but because of smart energy policy and new technical innovations, it’s closer to reality.
What a step back it would be to then send American crude overseas to China or the Middle East while still importing foreign crude from unstable, unfriendly parts of the world. And you would likely have to pay more at the pump for the privilege. Congress should give this more thought.
U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, Upper Darby