Crude oil exports have become a hot topic in Washington. Members of Congress are considering legislation that would end a 40-year-old export ban that has limited our country’s energy superpower potential.
Merrill Matthews, a scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation, explains in the pages of The Hill why this ban just doesn’t make sense:
Crude oil has to be refined before people can use it. But refineries aren’t necessarily in the same place the oil is being extracted—especially today when innovative drilling techniques are opening up oil fields around the country.
And even if they were close, that doesn’t mean the refinery is set up to refine the kind of crude being pumped nearby. The Texas Gulf Coast refineries are very good at refining very heavy crude oil, like that being produced in Canada—hence the drive to build the Keystone XL pipeline to ship it down. In some cases it may make more sense to export crude to another country rather than ship it across the U.S. for refining.
He goes on to point out the national security implications of ending the export ban:
Russia, Iran and Venezuela use access to energy as a diplomatic bargaining tool. And they use the profits from those sales to foment mischief in the world. Providing our allies and other countries with an alternative source for their energy needs helps undermine that mischief.
Members of Congress from both parties share these views. And there’s growing momentum to lift the ban. As an Energy Citizens, make sure your member of Congress is on the right side of this important issue.