For 40 years, the United States has exercised its right to restrict oil exports, but it may not remain this way for long. In recent news, it was announced that a House subcommittee quickly gave the nod of approval to legislation that authorizes crude exports. This Energy and Power subcommittee verbally passed the bill during a vote which marks the first step in moving the measure before the full House in the near future.
Before anything can truly be settled, however, there are some kinks that need to be worked out in the legislation. For example, a decision has yet to be made on whether safeguards should be crafted for those refiners with worries about exports having the potential to end a discount that has allowed US oil to remain as much as $30 cheaper than Europe’s Brent crude oil per barrel. In the meantime, however, the subcommittee’s vote has raised much debate amongst House representatives who are torn on the issue and how it will affect our nation’s economy and costs for both consumers and businesses.
Republican representatives are largely in favor of passing the legislation to lift the ban on exports. Proponents believe that doing so would provide the US with some valuable political leverage across the globe. At the same time, they feel that ending the ban will bring economic benefits to oil producers, small and large businesses, and the average American consumer as modest gasoline savings arise.
Many on the democratic side are opposed to the notion of lifting this decades-long ban on oil exports. Florida’s representative, Kathy Castor has expressed her opinion that the benefits promised to consumers are “entirely unsupported”. Representative Frank Pallone agreed with this statement, adding that the whole notion is nothing more than a “payday for producers”. The New Jersey democrat went on to stress the importance of Congress’s duty to fully “address the potential impacts on consumers, refinery capacity, associated jobs, and the environment.” As the bill currently stands, he does not believe that this has been the case, nor does he find the legislation to be acceptable.
Others on the democratic ticket are optimistic that changes can be made to the existing bill that will earn their support. Illinois’ Bobby Rush and Gene Green of Texas, for instance, have been working on proposals that would “warrant [their] support for the ban.” This means, however, slowing things down a bit. Rush feels that the effort is moving entirely too quickly and would like to see Congress dedicate more time to evaluating the issues at hand. Ultimately, those who are against the legislation as it stands feel that they must see legislation that reflects the traditions of our nature while paving the way towards a prosperous future — for everyone involved; the bill should not only work to the advantage of producers, but also to everyone along the supply line, ending with the direct consumer or business owner.
How This Vote Could Affect You
There’s a long road ahead for those trying to push the bill or make amendments to the existing verbiage as a means of deeming it “acceptable”, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be interested. The outcome of this vote could play a substantial role in the short-term and long-term costs of crude oil for consumers and business owners. Keeping an eye on costs and your ear to the ground for possible indications that you may benefit from switching to a different energy source is in your best interest.
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