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Washington Post Endorses Crude Oil Exports

There’s a move in Washington to lift the outdated ban on crude oil exports. This ban, dating back to the 1970s, was written for an era of U.S. energy scarcity. It does not make any sense when our nation is in the middle of an energy revolution.

The editors of the Washington Post understand this. In a recent editorial, they explained the benefits that would come to the U.S. by updating our nation’s crude oil export law:

“A new report by IHS Global explains why that thinking is outmoded. Actually, the report notes, allowing U.S. producers to sell their light crude abroad, where more refineries are equipped to process it efficiently, would incentivize additional U.S. production and job creation. At the same time, increasing the world supply of crude oil would translate into lower world prices for other heavier grades of crude, which U.S. refineries do use, and for gasoline. That, in turn, would be reflected in moderate gas prices in the United States. The IHS study estimates free trade in U.S. crude oil could save U.S. motorists $265 billion between 2016 and 2030. This does not count the geopolitical benefits of bringing a stable new source of supply onto world markets to offset those from Iraq, Libya and other trouble spots.”

Our energy laws shouldn’t be stuck in the 1970s. They should reflect the reality of today’s energy production. It’s time to change the outdated crude oil export law. 

Shale Gas Can Increase the World’s Energy Security

We know that shale gas production is creating jobs around the U.S. But what many Americans overlook is how this gas is reshaping America’s influence on the global stage. As James Clad, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia, says in a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op-ed, “The shale revolution is generating national security and geopolitical assets, real-world consequences moving more sharply into focus in recent weeks.”

How’s it doing this?

Clad puts it pretty clearly: “Just the potential for sizable U.S. energy exports gives pause to petro-dictators and expansionist bullies, forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin, for example, to downscale his ambitions.”

America is producing so much natural gas that we have the ability to start supplying it to the world. And as Clad explains, exporting more natural gas to Europe would alter the global energy playing field for the better:

“Whether from coal or [liquefied natural gas] supplied by the United States or other exporters, Europe’s growing range of energy supply options poses a long-term threat to Russia’s monopoly. Over half of Russia’s state budget comes from energy exports. Europe is easily its largest buyer — no matter what the much trumpeted Russia-China deal may portend. The reliance by Europe on Russia for 30 percent of its natural gas points to Russian vulnerability as well.”

Check out the rest of Clad’s article to read how American energy exports could be a huge help to our allies in Europe and around the world. It’s time for the U.S. to embrace its role as a global energy superpower. 

Waiting on the Renewable Fuel Standard

We are now almost halfway through 2014 and the EPA has still not made a determination on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) ethanol requirements for the year.

This negatively impacts both consumers and refiners.  As API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco told EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a June 18 letter, “The continuing delays are unacceptable, fundamentally unfair, and show a continued disregard for congressionally mandated deadlines.”

Many people are calling on the EPA to rethink RFS ethanol and biofuel requirements.  In a Palm Beach Post editorial, Nicolas Gutierrez of the Florida Energy Forum writes:

In 2007, when the standard was adopted, biofuels were supposed to lower greenhouse gases and become a major win for the environment. Instead, as an Associated Press investigation found last year, they have resulted in the loss of millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted waterways from the boon of corn production.

There has also been an economic impact. While the corn industry has benefited extensively from this mandate, the heightened pressure on production to produce fuel has increased the cost of most everything else we rely upon.

Too much ethanol and other biofuels in our fuel supply can harm engines, reduce fuel efficiency, and raise the cost of transporting consumer goods.  We hope the EPA seriously considers those outcomes before they finally do make a decision on the RFS.

Economists say – export more oil and natural gas

An Associated Press poll of economists has found that they overwhelmingly endorse lifting restrictions on U.S. exports of oil and natural gas.  According to AP:

More exports would encourage investment in oil and gas production and transport, create jobs, make oil and gas supplies more stable and reduce the U.S. trade deficit, they (economists) say.

Increasing liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports would be particularly beneficial to the U.S. economy and consumers.  In the last week of April the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce reported H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, to the floor.  This legislation would accelerate the approval process for LNG export permits.  In response to the Committee’s vote, Center for Liquefied Natural Gas President Bill Cooper said:

“The United States has the natural gas supplies and the economic ability to provide our allies with reliable sources of energy, without losing our competitive edge in domestic prices. Furthermore, allowing the sale of our natural gas abroad will improve the trade deficit and create more jobs while providing significant tax revenue to our local, state, and federal governments. Each LNG export terminal is a multibillion-dollar investment that not only creates construction jobs but permanent jobs throughout the natural gas and manufacturing value chains. According to a study from ICF International, employment from LNG exports is expected to create between 73,100 and 452,300 jobs nationwide between 2016 and 2035.”

As Congress considers H.R. 6, Energy Citizens should make sure their representatives in the House know that we expect them to vote in favor of this important strategy to grow our economy and make America more energy secure.

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